Susie Lee (Canadian accent)

For a unique cultural experience in the outdoors, travel to Cates Park in North Vancouver, and go on the guided adventures offered by Takaya Tours.

Dennis Thomas (Canadian accent)

When we take visitors on the ancestral walking tour, we show them the traditional flora and fauna that my ancestors used to use. Where we do these tours are actually on Whey-Ah-Wichen, which is the traditional village of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

Well, here, Susie, we have the western red cedar tree that was used prominently by First Nations in the West Coast of British Columbia. Some of the things that we used it for were making our longhouses, our cedar canoes, our totem poles, accessories for the ladies and mens, like a cedar skirt or a cedar hat, and that’s why this tree is so important to our people.

Susie Lee

This is skunk cabbage, and what I discovered in my tour is that the First Nations people used to use this plant to serve and wrap their food. And did you also know that the bears use it as a laxative? So if you’re ever feeling constipated, you know what to eat!

To explore the calm and scenic waters of Berrard Inlet and Indian Arm I returned the next day to join a canoe excursion. To begin the adventure, Takaya Tours tours honors its guests by welcoming them with traditional songs.

What’s great about this activity is that it is accessible to people of all skill levels. Friendly guides provide safety tips and instructions on how to paddle a canoe. After our lesson we head down to the boat launch at Cates Park to begin our voyage on 25-foot canoes.

We’re about to take off and the Coast Salish word for canoe is called “kahuf,” which means ocean-going canoe. This canoe that I’m going to be going out today is made of fiberglass and weighs approximately between 400 and 450 pounds, but the original cedar dugout canoe can weigh over 1,000 pounds. As we paddle along the shorelines, our guides share with us their rich culture and history. I discovered that up to 350 people from the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation used to inhabit the grounds of what is now known as Cates Park. They called this area they lived in Whey-Ah-Wichen, which means “Facing the wind.” The cultural adventures offered by Takaya tours and Cates Park will take you on a nostalgic journey back in time. These tours are unique ways to experience the beauty Vancouver’s North Shore, the place where nature lives.