World’s Tallest Totem Pole Set for ’94 Commonwealth Games


Canadian natives will carve the world’s tallest totem pole to honor the 1994 Commonwealth Games in this British Columbia capital, games organizers said Friday.

They said the 180-foot pole, the size of a 15-story building, will be built from a 300-year-old cedar tree and tower 50 feet above a downtown waterfront hotel.

“The games are about excellence and we are striving to erect the world’s tallest totem pole as a testament to the native coastal nations of British Columbia and a legacy to the games,” said games executive Ed Oscapella.


Victoria authorities Thursday unanimously approved construction of the pole from a 200-foot tree found in a Vancouver Island forest by Salish Indian artist Richard Krentz.

Krentz will head a team of Indian carvers who will start work on the project in May. “He has searched for three years to find a suitable tree. It has to be cut down next week,” Oscapella said.

The proposal, however, has upset community leaders at Alert Bay, a village on the north end of Vancouver Island. Their 171-foot pole, raised on the Nimkish Indian reserve in 1973, currently is listed as the world’s tallest totem.