Updates from Culture & Events

City of Nanaimo // October 2022

National Day for Truth & Reconciliation Event, 2022
Image credit: Sean Fenzl, Photographer

National Day for Truth & Reconciliation
September 30th marked the second National Day for
Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.

On September 30th, the Snuneymuxw First Nation (in partnership with the City of Nanaimo and Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools) presented “Honoring our children by honoring a Snuneymuxw way of being” at Stadium District. The event honored Ancestors, survivors and families and included the unveiling of new artwork by Noel Brown as the turf field was officially named q’unq’inuqwstuxw. (pronounced ki-KIN-ish-TOOK). q’unq’inuqwstuxw translates to “return/give back”. The word has different meanings within the Snuneymuxw way of being. In this context, the word has two meanings:

The new name of the field, q’unq’inuqwstuxw, along with the Snuneymuxw artwork by Noel Brown placed at the entrance of the field, is the first step in honouring the Land and is a reminder to give back more than we take from the Land.

q’unq’inuqwstuxw artwork, Noel Brown, 2022
Image credit: Farron Hayes

In a sports context, q’unq’inuqwstuxw is used in ball games, to ask for the ball back from fellow players.

The new Snuneymuxw artwork and field name bring healing to the Land and its communities – past, present and future, while enhancing the sport and recreation experience within Stadium District for all.

Learn the pronunciation of q’unq’inuqwstuxw

Sea Bed, Peter Achurch, 2020
Image credit:  Sean Fenzl, Photographer

Sea Bed, by Peter Achurch

Introducing the newest addition to the City of Nanaimo Public Art Inventory

The Culture & Events team is proud to announce that this meaningful piece of art, originally submitted for display as a Temporary Public Art piece in 2020, has been added the City’s Public Art Inventory. Seabed, by Peter Achurch, is a large scale hand weaving located in the lobby of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. Using marine rope & cord woven into an armature made from a stripped down steel-spring mattress, discarded materials take centre-stage with this sculpture. As the artist says, they tell their own tales of work along our coast.

The collection of reclaimed materials used in the creation of this piece took place over the course of many years as Achurch wandered BC shorelines. He notes that three elements of design specifically drew him to working with these fragments; variety (colour, length and fiber of the marine rope and strings collected), environmental impact and historical authenticity.

In his own words, he writes, "I like to identify such elements and employ them in my work, especially when they display the evidence of nature’s deconstruction. I find this helps to position myself both geographically and chronologically as I consider the where, when, and how of the object I’m holding and where it fits in history. It is also a reminder of the provisional relationship we have with the planet."

More about the Public Art Inventory

The Descendants, Aarame Robillard, 2022

2023 City of Nanaimo Culture Awards
Call for Nominations

Nominate a leader in Culture!


We are calling on you to nominate cultural leaders who deserve recognition for their work! Every year, we honour and celebrate achievements in arts and culture through the City’s Culture Awards. We’re accepting 2023 nominations from the community until Friday, November 18, 2022 at 4:00 PM.

The three nomination categories are:


This is your opportunity to recognize the people and groups that you believe make Nanaimo a culturally vibrant city. Nomination forms and details on past award winners is available online.


Online nomination form

Sacred Gathering of the Freshwater and Saltwater, Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun, 2021

2022 Awards of Excellence –
Creative City Network of Canada

X̌e̕x̌e̕ Sq̓upa̓stul u tu T̓hewum Qa̕ ̓ i ̓ K̓wat̓lkwa |
Sacred Gathering of the Freshwater and Saltwater
by Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun earns national recognition

Over the course of 2020 and 2021 artist Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun, created new artwork for the Beban Park Pool grounds. Inspired by the abundant life of the Nanaimo River Estuary, and by teachings from his late great grandmother, Dr. Ellen White, Kwulasulwut and other mentors, Eliot designed giant wall paintings and a series of colourful fabric banners about the life that exists here in Nanaimo, on the lands of the Snuneymuxw people for pool patrons to enjoy for years to come.

The project also included a free colouring booklet for young audiences, which included phonetic pronunciations of Hul’q’umi’num words that described the beings featured in the stories that inspired the artwork. These stories could be heard via QR code on interpretive signage at the pool and in the booklet link to audio recordings of White-Hill, himself.

This outstanding project was recently given national recognition with an Honourable Mention at the 2022 Creative City Network of Canada Awards of Excellence. The jury praised the work, saying, “Visually, the work is strong, but also, it lives beyond the children’s storybooks by using this static piece as a tool for Reconciliation. We know that children will see these images. This is an incredible way to introduce the aspect of Indigenous naming to children.”

The Culture & Events team wishes to thank Eliot for his immense and impactful work on this project!


More about this Public Art Project 

Upcoming Poetry Reading
Friday, October 21st at VIRL Harbourfront Branch

Autumn beckons, encouraging us to gather with good company and good literature as the days grow steadily colder and night deepens. Mark your calendars for an opportunity to do just this with Poet Laureate Kamal Parmar at an upcoming, in person poetry reading and book launch at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library (90 Commercial Street), also featuring authors Kim Goldberg, Ian Cognito, and Leanne Boschman. A Q&A and Open Mic session will follow if time allows, so bring your inspiration with you!

More about Poetry 

Retirement Calls!

A farewell message from Lynn Wark,
Director of Recreation & Culture

I Bid You all Adieu!

I came to Nanaimo during a very interesting time – the COVID pandemic!

Many activities and events were cancelled, postponed, or revised . . . so it was not business as normal. Despite that, the Culture and Events team was able to complete a lot of very important work – revising processes, updating programs, installing public art projects, continuing with the Poet Laureate, adding banners to beautify the City and more!

I can assure you that this area is being left in very good hands with a few new faces, Darcie Osborne, the new Director of Recreation and Culture, Megan Lum, the new Culture Coordinator, Janna Logan, the Recreation and Culture Clerk, and a soon to be hired Culture and Events Manager.

All of the current staff have experience working on the Culture and Events team and are excited about moving forward with the REIMAGINE initiatives and continuing to support culture and events.

Heading off to retirement adventures,

Lynn Wark

Contact Us


With respect & gratitude, we acknowledge that our work is carried out on the
territory of the Snuneymuxw people

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