Oct 07, 2021

Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction Hosts House Post Blessing Ceremony

A special ceremony took place at the Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction (Red Fish Healing Centre) to bless the house post welcoming visitors at the entrance of the building. 

Speaking to those in attendance, Kwantlen Nation artist Brandon Gabriel told the origin story of the ancient log, a 600-year-old western red cedar blown over in a storm in the Coquitlam River watershed. He explained that this large piece of wood is the perfect medium for the post as it comes from the territory of Kwikwetlem First Nation (KFN), the band government of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm people. The house post tells the story of the KFN people who have lived on the banks of the Coquitlam River for 9,000 years, the great blue heron colony that watched over them, the Warrior Spirit who protected their land, and their connection to the land and sea. 

The house post is a symbol of solidarity and friendship. This was evident in the way the project crew came together to help with the installation of this piece of art. “The EllisDon team involved with this project were coming up to us and telling us how important this work was to them,” says Brandon. “There was a group of crew members that came and stayed with us until 8:30 last night. They weren’t on company time, they stayed behind on their own time to help us put this up.”

The Red Fish Healing Centre is a 105-bed facility treating those across British Columbia who live with severe and complex mental health and substance use issues. Not only is this facility setting the new standard in healthcare, but it is also a beacon of harmony with the KFN, who have been involved in many aspects of the project including the design and landscaping. EllisDon continues to work closely with the KFN to ensure that all work on-site is being executed carefully and respectfully, while being mindful of the history of these lands and the significance they hold to the First Nation peoples who live there.

Set to open this fall, there is no argument that the Centre will have a very important impact on the lives of many in the Greater Vancouver area. The raising of the pole is the material evidence of how special this work really is.