If you believe the weather forecast (and who does?) it could finally be nice enough to go for a stroll around the Xwayxway Seawall.
At the very least, you could open the sunroof when you drive through the Xwayxway Causeway. No, I’m not suffering from a speech disorder that causes me to lapse into Coast Salish. I’m just trying out the name suggested for Stanley Park that has everyone buzzing.
Just before Canada Day, a 95-year-old elder suggested we go back to the name of the original Squamish First Nation Village at what is now Lumberman’s Arch. And now everyone has an opinion.
Vancouver’s First Enthusiast, Gregor Robertson, is all over it like a puppy with a big tongue. Perhaps more surprisingly, Tourism Vancouver CEO Rick Antonson also likes the idea, but only if it’s integrated alongside the current brand. Second billing, perhaps, but a long way from lost in the prehistoric mists.
To be honest, when I first heard the Xwayxway (say Kwhy-kway) idea, I thought to myself: So that’s how it feels when they change the name of your favourite place into a language you don’t understand and don’t speak.
Exactly how the First Nations people must have felt when a bunch of guys with guns and white powdered pigtails went around renaming their favourite landmarks without anyone’s permission. One morning you wake up and it’s not Xwayxway, as it has been for the last 3,000 years — it’s Granville or Vancouver or Stanley Park. Who are these guys?
So I sympathize. And you have to admit Xwayxway, which means “Place of the Mask,” is sexier and more mysterious than Lumberman’s Arch, which sounds sexy only to a podiatrist.
But is it a good idea? My foremost experience with incomprehensible languages in an otherwise English-speaking environment is Wales, where the signs are also in the original Welsh language.
This is not so hard, especially if Xwayxway stands alongside Stanley Park, which should come first on the GPS, at least. Maybe it will even get us looking at the park in a different, more ancient light. In a town where everything is 37 minutes old, is that a bad thing?
Meanwhile, I bet that 95-year-old Squamish elder had no idea what a fuss his suggestion would cause. Then again, maybe that’s exactly what he was thinking.
Back atcha, white powdered pigtails.