burnaby mountain park

Burnaby Mountain park in Canada is home to the Playground of the Gods

Burnaby Mountain is home to a dozen carved totem poles shooting up to the sky as well as the beautiful Burrard Inlet. It has to be one of the most unusual and breathtaking spots in Vancouver. 

The series of sculptures is known as Playground of the Gods (or Kamui Mintara, in Japanese) and is located near Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

Some of the elaborate and monumental wooden totems feature animal figures, including a bear, owl and orca, and look like something out of legends.

Although often mistaken for work of the First Nations, the sculptures were actually created by woodcarvers, Nuburi Toko and his son, Shusei who belonged to the Ainu Indigenous people of Japan.

The totem poles draw on Ainu animist tradition, with animal totems representing the gods descending to create the world, while the smaller surrounding poles represent the Ainu people and their relationship with the divine.

The artwork was unveiled on the 25th anniversary of the sister cities, Burnaby, B.C., and Toko's hometown in Japan — Kushiro, in 1990, and has been a special part of the mountain ever since.

Besides their fascinating history, the sculptures also come with spectacular views as they tower over the distant city of Vancouver and the breathtaking mountainous terrain.

There are also more than 28 kilometres of hiking trails crisscrossing the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area to explore.

If you plan to pay the spot a visit, the best time to do so has to be at sunset. The fiery colours of the sun shoot through the totem poles and outline their interesting shapes.

The intricately-carved sculptures and the incredible hilly views make the spot a sight to behold and an incredible place to add to your bucket list.

Lead photo by

Jill S

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