Alright, I’ll admit it, I was among the eye-rollers when the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) announced that the Inukshuk would be the symbol of the 2010 Winter Games. It just didn’t make sense. It’s not a symbol associated with the First Nations from around here. It doesn’t have any particular meaning associated with Vancouver or Whistler. It’s just a piece of art on the Seawall at English Bay, after all, right? It’s a seemingly random choice – might as well have chosen the diver on the rock, or heck, the upside-down church balanced on its steeple (is that even still there?). The lions of the Lions Gate Bridge would’ve felt more appropriate.
Appropriate, fitting, BC-related or not … the thing seems to have been an inspiration. I was somewhat in awe at the rocky beach on False Creek today, where nearly every flat rock has been carefully balanced into stacks. Hundreds of markers speaking out to all who pass by, “I was here.” Or perhaps a consensus of “This is the right way,” or signifying a place of power. To be honest, all of those might just apply. Individually, the people who made these inuksuik (plural of inukshuk as I just found out), us included, likely did so to join in the fun or mark their existence, presence, at that place. In a broader view though I’ve been deeply touched by the presence of Canadian spirit and the unexpected power that these games seem to have had over this spirit. Maybe the games were the right way after all, as the inuksuik seem to proclaim.
I’m now okay with the inukshuk symbol for the games. The mascots? Don’t get me started. I still don’t get those at all.