Water Beneath Our Feet

Mapping the Spirit of the False Creek Watershed

presented by the False Creek Watershed Society

Are you interested in the history of False Creek? Would you like to creatively map your “home place”? This community mapping project offers the opportunity to participate in historical walks, community storytelling and a creative mapping workshop. If this mix whets your appetite, we encourage you to register for one of the two community mapping workshops and the three supporting events to gain the best experience of this unique project.

These events are all free. Donations will be accepted on historical walks. Please make sure to register for all events (event websites are noted after the individual events below) so we know how many to expect. For information on these events and to add your own photos and stories, please visit www.mappingfalsecreek.com

March 13 – Historical False Creek Walk with Bruce Macdonald

March 20 – Musqueam Creek Walk – Vancouver’s last wild salmon stream

March 27 – Community Sharing Workshop False Creek History

April 10 – Community Mapping Workshop – Emily Carr University

April 17 – Community Mapping Workshop – Roundhouse Community Ctr.

The Water Beneath Our Feet: Mapping the Spirit of the False CreekWatershed is a creative, community mapping event, which will result in individual and composite maps that will be offered for viewing by the public. In the population-dense city of Vancouver, this project brings a cultural layer to the process of mapmaking by engaging the creative heart of our citizens to help them visualize their “home place.” It offers an opportunity to map the way participants feel about the land where they live, play and work.

The process of mapping has been done by humans through countless centuries. Maps of trails, feeding grounds and seashores have been prominent in history books. Maps were one of the first images made by the explorers of the New World. Using as a guide the award-winning model created by BC artists and community leaders “Islands in the Salish Sea – a Community Atlas” (Heritage, 2005), we would like to share the idea of mapping one’s “home place” to the centre of Vancouver’s False Creek. In so doing, we will encourage active and creative citizens, whose dialogues and collaborations about the significance of their home will enrich Vancouver’s vibrant culture.

It was not that long ago that False Creek would have been lined with rocky shores, with abundant sea life and birds and its waters filled with fish, seals and killer whales. The forest behind would have been thick with conifers up to 1,000-years-old, home to bears, cougars and wolves and humming with the sounds of beaver, frogs, chipmunks and much more.

Today, although much biodiversity has been lost, the water is still there and some birds and sea life are still present. Many workshop participants will have visited other wilderness areas that offer some idea of what life in False Creek would have been like before the mid 1800’s when the first logging began. We will be bringing back the memory of the time when what we now call False Creek was home place. The area provided rich sustenance for a thriving community of First Nations people and many plants and animals. We would like to help recreate a vision of this historical environment through maps, story, memories and painted and photographic images. Participants will choose what they wish to portray on their map and they will be encouraged to creatively link the past, present and future.

Our project is an excellent catalyst for the community to learn more about its history. In the short term, the artists and participants will benefit by making connections and working with community members who are concerned about the land and their local surroundings. In essence, we are trying to inspire and motivate a community that is surrounded by concrete and human-based reality. In the long-term, having deepened their understanding of the city’s history by learning from the historians, artists and each other, the participants and artists will be able to further their own creative practices as well.

Participants from all walks of life are welcome. The projects will remain in the communities after they are completed.

Leave a comment