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Xʷay'Xʷəy (Xway' xway, Why-why, Qoiquoi, Qwhy-qwhy, Whoiwhoi)[1][2] ([xʷajxʷaj]) is a village site of the Indigenous, located near what is now known as Stanley Park in British Columbia, Canada. The location is on the eastern peninsula of the park, at the location now the site of Lumberman's Arch. The village site was home for many Sḵwxwú7mesh,Musqueam and Tsleil-waututh people but after more colonization began in the Vancouver area, the inhabitants were forced to re-locate to nearby villages. The name of the village comes from a mask ceremony, and a story where one of these masks originated from this place. Thus, its best translation would be "masked dance performance".


Xwáýxway is estimated to have been inhabited for more than 3000 years. The area of Burrard Inlet and present day Vancouver was inhabited by the indigenous people for thousands of years. The abundant resources in these lands were used by Sḵwxwú7mesh, Musqueam, and Tsleil-waututh peoples. This village was one of the prominent villages in the area, serving as home to many houses, occupied by large extended families as is the custom of the indigenous culture.

With colonial British Expansion from the east following the opening of the transcontinental railroad in 1886, Vancouver started to boom in population. With the passing of the Indian Act, the area known now as Stanley Park was created apart of Crown Lands, when the indigenous populations were placed on reserves.[citation needed] Like the nearby village site near Vanier Park called Senakw, or sən'aqʷ, the natives were removed to progression development and expansion of European settlement. In the 1880s, surveyors and road builders knocked the homes down to create the Park Drive perimeter road. In a 1934 conversation with archivist Major J.S. Matthews, August Jack Khatsahlano related to his childhood when he lived in the area, "We was inside this house when the surveyors come along and they chop the corner of our house when we was eating inside... We all get up and go outside see what was the matter. My sister Louise, she was only one talk a little English; she goes out ask Whiteman what's he doing that for. The man say, 'We're surveying the road. My sister ask him, "'Whose road?"

Local anthropologist Charles Hill-Tout noted several skeletons were found during a road crew excavation near Xwáýxway. In the ancient Skwxwu7mesh custom, deceased were placed in trees with mausoleums built around the remains. The remains would be placed in a specially made bent wood box, and placed high in the tree. Some individuals or families of high rank or noble status would be placed in cedar tree dugout canoes.

In the late 1800s, the village was the largest settlement in Stanley Park. In this village, a big house or longhouse measured at 60 meters long and near 20 meters wide. The structure was built with large cedar posts and slabs. 11 families lived in the house, numbering around 100 people. A large potlatch, a ceremonial event conducted by wealthy families, was held at this house in 1875. This event is also mentioned in the city council meeting minutes, where the medical health officer recommended the destruction of the buildings because of a smallpox outbreak, says Eric McLay, president of the Archeology Society of B.C.

Squamish Nation chief Ian Cambell proposed in 2010 that Stanley Park be renamed Xwayxway Park after the name of this village.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barman, Jean (2007) [2005]Stanley Park's Secret: The Forgotten Families of Whoi Whoi, Kanaka Ranch and Brockton Point. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-55017-420-5.
  2. ^ Suttles, Wayne (2004) "Musqueam Reference Grammar." Vancouver: UBC Press. p. 571
  3. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/07/01/bc-stanley-park-rename-xwayxway.html


  • Barman, Jean (2007) [2005]. Stanley Park's Secret: The Forgotten Families of Whoi Whoi, Kanaka Ranch and Brockton Point. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing. ISBN 978-1-55017-420-5.
  • Shore, Randy. Before Stanley Park: First nations sites lie scattered throughout the area. The Vancouver Sun, March 17, 2007. Retrieved Thursday, January 24th, 2008.
  • Suttles, Wayne. (2004). "Musqueam Reference Grammar." Vancouver: UBC Press. ISBN 0-7748-1002-5.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 49°18′09″N 123°07′50″W / 49.3026°N 123.1305°W / 49.3026; -123.1305