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'Barge Chilling Beach' sign cleaned after painted with traditional name

The traditional Squamish word for the beach, Í7iy̓el̓shn, was painted over the original sign.

Shortly after being painted over, the 'Barge Chilling Beach' sign near the English Bay Barge has been cleaned.

The sign, erected last month by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation as a Christmas gift to the city/nod to the 'Dude Chilling Park' sign, was hit with yellow paint earlier this week. Someone wrote "Í7iy̓el̓shn" across the temporary sign, the traditional Squamish name for the beach.

The word was washed off by parks staff—but not before it garnered attention online.

City councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung weighed in, annoyed at the act.

"I’m so fed up. This sign was a small thing that provided some levity & smiles during a tough time. We need more kindness not the opposite," she wrote online.

Prior to the sign being painted over, Indigenous artist Ronnie Dean Harris noted on Instagram that the sign for the barge was put up quickly, and showed signs with traditional local names, like Í7iy̓el̓shn, could be put up too.

"You CANNOT tell me it's that hard to get some traditional place name signs around the cities," he wrote in the popular post.

The park board notes that it is looking into putting Indigenous place names on signs.

"While we did not actually rename the beach, we’re glad to see the conversation around the sign evolve in this important way. It’s clear the community cares about this topic deeply, and so do we," writes spokesperson Jeannine Guérette. "Re-introducing local Indigenous names is very much a priority for us, and we have been in the process of developing a naming policy that reflects these values."

The 'Barge Chilling Beach' sign was intended to be fun and bring levity during a tough time, Guérette adds. However, the park board is taking Indigenous naming seriously.

"Selecting permanent names, especially Indigenous ones, takes thoughtful care and collaboration with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, including translations," adds Guérette. "We have important projects on the horizon where, together, we are successfully navigating this process, and we look forward to sharing those outcomes with the public very soon."


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