Landmarks - Public Art in the Capital Region


Signs of Lekwungen - Lower Causeway Site by Butch Dick

Signs of Lekwungen - Lower Causeway Site by Butch Dick
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Artwork DescriptionCulturally significant site to the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. This is one of seven markers created with circular bronze casts of original cedar carvings. This artwork depicts the spindle whorl, a tool traditionally used by Coast Salish women to spin wool - considered to be the foundation of a Coast Salish family. The concept for the base was developed by Heritage Planner Richard Linzey. The base's top is inscribed with the traditional place name, phonetically in Lekwungen as well as English.
Artwork Statementwhu-SEI-kum "place of mud" marked wide tidal mudflats and some of the best clam beds on the coast. These flats were buried when the area was filled in to construct the Empress Hotel. This place was also one end of a canoe portage. The portage could be used to avoid the harbour entrance during heavy seas by cutting through from the eastern side of what is now Ross Bay Cemetery. Along the route, arrowheads and other stone tools are still found, reminding us that the lowlands were rich for hunting. When housing development began, the lower elevations were left for market gardens and nurseries until after the Second World War.

About Butch Dick

Artist BioButch Dick is a master carver trained in fine art and graphic design. He has taught First Nations Art and Culture in School District 61 for more than 20 years and is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Victoria, teaching an Indigenous Learning course. Butch Dick also trained his two sons, Clarence Dick Jr. and Bradley Dick in the art of carving. Father and sons work closely together on aboriginal art projects.


Artwork TypeFirst Nations
MediumCarving: close-grain red cedar was used to carve the whorl. Bronze castings: made as a disk, anchored to a brown powder-coated aluminum pole.
Unveiled dateSeptember 30, 2008
Dimensionssite marker 2.5 metres in height
Reference #3849
SiteLower Causeway on the Inner Harbour, in front of Fairmont Empress Hotel
Art CategoryCivic Public Art
Selection ProcessCivic: Invitational / Commissioned
Municipality/NeighbourhoodVictoria: Downtown



Type of Artwork