Surrey landmark gifted to Queen will be taken down and 'laid to rest'

One of Surrey’s most eye-catching and much-loved landmarks is to be taken down.
Great Windsor Park Totem Pole, Virginia Water (Image Google)Great Windsor Park Totem Pole, Virginia Water (Image Google)
Great Windsor Park Totem Pole, Virginia Water (Image Google)

The huge 100ft Windsor Totem Pole in Virginia Water will be lowered and allowed to slowly deteriorate and decay, the Crown Estate has said.

The pole was originally gifted to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by the Government of British Columbia to mark its centenary in 1958.

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It was erected in Windsor Great Park by the Royal Engineers and for the past 60 years has stood as a lasting reminder of the links and friendship between Canada and the United Kingdom.

Its height was chosen to mark one foot for every year of the centenary.

A spokesperson for the Crown Estate said: “The Totem Pole has now reached the end of its natural lifespan.

“Like its sister pole, the Centennial Pole in Vancouver, which was lowered in 2018, this totem pole will now be lowered.

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“The next stage of the totem pole’s existence is for it to be laid to rest and for it to slowly deteriorate and decay.

“This decision has been reached after careful consideration, and long discussion with the First Nation Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw peoples in British Columbia.

“It has been agreed by all that as the pole was gifted to Her Majesty the Queen and has spent its life here in Windsor Great Park, it is appropriate and right that the pole is laid down at a location here in The Great Park, where it will remain an attraction for many years to come.”

The totem pole has been blessed by Hereditary Chief David Mungo Knox, great-grandson of the pole’s creator, Chief Mungo Martin, ahead of its lowering, with the Crown Estate saying it expects it to come down “with all appropriate ceremonies” during 2024.

No decision has yet been reached as to what may replace it.

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In the summer of 2021 the pole and its surrounding areas was closed to the public to allow renovation work to be carried out.

The pole was presented to the Queen in June 1958 by Chief Mungo Martin to mark the centenary of British Columbia, which was proclaimed a Crown Colony in 1858 by Queen Victoria.

The pole was carved from a 600 year old tree with an identical sister pole installed in Vancouver.

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