Updates from Culture & Events

City of Nanaimo // September 2021

Honouring our Children on

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Uy Skweyul

The Government of Canada recently designated September 30 of every year as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis residential school survivors, their families, and communities; and, to ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

To recognize this important date Snuneymuxw First Nation, City of Nanaimo, and Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools, is hosting an event on September 30, 2021 to bring awareness to honour and remember residential school survivors and their families and consider ways in which we can continue to reflect on the truth and advance reconciliation in our community.

The event called Honouring our Children on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will take place on September 30, 2021 from 10 am to 2 pm at Maffeo Sutton Park/ Swy-a-Lana in Nanaimo. This will include messages from leaders, a ceremony to celebrate a Welcome Pole by Snuneymuxw carver Noel Brown, Snuneymuxw Flag recognition, Elder sharings, Snuneymuxw Dancers and cultural performances by Children and Youth.

More details will be provided closer to the day. In the meantime, we encourage you to save the date.

Hay ch q'a / Thank you

Image: Noel Brown, Detail: Welcome Pole, 2021

Welcome Pole by Noel Brown to be raised
at Maffeo Sutton Park

Preparations have begun for the installation of a Welcome Pole, carved by Snuneymuxw artist Noel Brown. The Welcome Pole is a 49 foot tall carving that will be located in Spirit Square at Maffeo Sutton Park / Sway'a'Lana, facing East towards the sunrise.

In discussing the significance of the Welcome Pole, Snuneymuxw leaders have shared:

"…in its most holistic sense, Snuneymuxw art honours the natural world as the ultimate source of knowledge, wellness, and renewal and as well as a gentle reminder that these great lands touch every aspect of life. In a modern context, the installation of the Welcome Pole is an invitation to the broader community to think more deeply about a way of being that is built on a foundation of humility, connectivity and reciprocity."

The pole is made for this place and acknowledges Sway’a’Lana as an historic village site that continues to have living resonance, and raises awareness about the Snuneymuxw peoples’ ongoing sacred connection to the land.

About the Artist
Noel Brown is a renowned artist and a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation. Brown began carving professionally in 1995 and received inspiration from James Lewis, a prominent Northwest Coast carver. His style has also been guided by the teachings of Richard Baker and Matthew Baker. His carvings are on display at the Nanaimo Museum, Vancouver Island University, BC Ferries Departure Bay terminal, and the Nanaimo Cruise Ship terminal. His designs can also be seen at Maffeo Sutton Park on utility box wraps and in the Inclusive Playground.

The Welcome Pole project partners include Snuneymuxw First Nation, City of Nanaimo and Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre. It is funded by the City of Nanaimo, the Government of Canada, and Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre, and supported by the in-kind donation of a cedar log from Mosaic Forest Management.

Apply Now for Grants
Deadline: October 19, 2021

We are currently accepting applications from community organizations seeking financial assistance to support arts, culture and heritage initiatives in Nanaimo in 2022 through three different grant streams:

Culture & Heritage Operating Grants
Culture & Heritage Project Grants
Downtown Event Revitalization Funding

Download and submit your application in person or complete the process online through the online submission page.

Your 2021 Culture Grant & Final Reports
Final reports are due! Returning applicants must send their final reports by September 20, 2021. Final Reports are required before a new grant application can be submitted. Find the Final Report Forms online in each program page:

Culture & Heritage Operating Grants – REPORT FORM
Culture & Heritage Project Grants – REPORT FORM
Downtown Event Revitalization Funding – REPORT FORM

Don't know where to start?  We can help!
Need a little extra guidance on applying for Cultural Funding? Book a one-on-one appointment to meet with Coordinators on the Culture & Events team. To register for a 45 minute time slot, email us at

Monday, September 20, 8:00 AM – 6 PM
Tuesday, September 21, 8:00 AM – 6 PM

Image: Craig Letourneau, Vibrant Dance Studio, 2018 Culture & Heritage Awards Ceremony

Nominate a Leader for Recognition!

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 & Heritage Awards.

We’re accepting 2022 nominations from the community until Friday, October 29, 2021 at 4:00 PM. The four nomination categories:


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.

More about Culture & Heritage Awards

Left: Peter Achurch, Sea Bed, 2020
Right: Joël A Prévost, Name Your Dog!, 2020
Images: Sean Fenzl

Deadline Extend: Call for Temporary Public Art

We can hardly wait to see all the Temporary Public Art submissions, but we’ll wait a little longer. The new deadline for submissions is September 27, 2021.

Proposals can be made for art in public spaces across Nanaimo, to be undertaken in 2022. Program details and application materials available online, at the link below.

More about the Temporary Public Art Program

Contact Us


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

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