Gate to the Northwest Passage
When the weather is off – too wet, too slurpy-sludge – Vancouverites get cabin fever. As soon as some sun appears, we are out in droves. One of the most popular post-lockdown walks is the seawall from Kits Pool to the Planetarium.
A key marker along this gorgeous stroll is Gate to the Northwest Passage, another sculpture by Alan Chung Hung, whose Red Spring sculpture we covered recently.
Chung Hung’s Gate, installed in 1980, is comprised of a fifteen inch square of corten steel, set on a bed of paving stones. The artist won a juried competition put on by Parks Canada. Applicants were to build a monument in Vanier Park to commemorate Captain George Vancouver.
Gate to the Northwest was initially controversial; some compared it to a monster paperclip. It was actually designed with two of Captain Vancouver’s navigational tools in mind: a Davis quadrant and a plane table.
‘The objective of the sculpture,’ Chung Hung said, ‘is to create a symbolic image with definite visual expression, awakening an awareness in Captain George Vancouver’s contribution to the world, his remarkable and meticulous surveys which included the north Pacific coast.’
Since all of the early dissing, Chung Hung’s Gate has become a popular anchor for photos of downtown and the mountains beyond. Just duck if you see Bellatrix.
Written by Elizabeth Newton