You don’t always have to take a trip to a museum or gallery to enjoy local art. New Westminster has done a wonderful job of curating temporary and permanent public art pieces located in various hot spots around the city, particularly in the downtown/Front Street region. These installations, murals, sculptures and totem poles are on display for locals and tourists alike to enjoy, all you have to do is stop, and smell the roses–or in this case, pause and observe.
Canada 150 Mural | Mural
Artist: Designed by Lewis Lavoie and local community members
Location: Centennial Lodge, Queens Park
History: In the summer of 2016, the City of New Westminster participated in the Canada 150 national mosaic mural project, by working with Lewis Lavoie and local community members of all ages to bring 700 individual tiles into one astounding piece. According to the New West City website, “each individual mural represents a train car, which inevitably will join the other murals to form a gigantic train- the foundation of the unification of Canada.”
Wow Westminster | Sculpture
Artist: José Resende
Location: 170 Front Street, New Westminster
History: Designed by Brazilian artist José Resende, this 140-foot installation is built of four forty-foot shipping containers. “Wow Westminster was installed as Vancouver Biennale’s Open Air Museum presentation in New Westminster,” and has since become an iconic landmark along the Fraser River.
Wait for Me Daddy | Sculpture
Artist: Veronica and Edwin Dam de Nogales, based on the 1940s photograph Wait for Me Daddy by Claude P. Dettloff
Location: Hyack Square, Downtown New Westminster
History: Commissioned by the City of New Westminster and installed in 2014, Wait for Me Daddy “is a war memorial based on The Vancouver Province photographer Claude P. Dettloff’s iconic 1940s photograph” of the same name. Unlike most war monuments, this piece explores the struggles and hardships experienced by families of war, combining historical, contemporary, and lighting elements.
FLOW | Mural
Artist: Sandeep Johal
Location: Front Street Mews Barrier Wall, Downtown New Westminster
History: Rooted in the foundation of symmetry and geometry, Sandeep Johal expresses social and cultural conversations, particularly gender justice, with this eclectic and colourful mural inspired by the designs, themes, and “motifs specific to her South Asian heritage.” FLOW was installed on Front Street in 2017 and remains a permanent addition to New West’s public art collection.
rorschach/sentinel | Sculpture
Artist: Jacqueline Metz and Nancy Chew
Location: 100 East Columbia, New Westminster
History: “rorschach/sentinel is based on a profile of a large merchant ship that was vital to the Allied war effort. Such ships docked at the New Westminster port and contributed to the labour history and economic development of the city. The [sculpture] also refers to the iconic Rorschach test. The contemplation of ‘found’ images and patterns, edited in some way – by selection, placement, juxtaposition – alters meaning, each of us selecting and interpreting what we see.”
Queen’s Park Totem Pole | Totem
Artist: Lloyd Wadhams and Bob Whonnock
Location: Centennial Lodge, Queens Park
History: Installed in 1967, the Queen’s Park Totem Pole has been an iconic part of New Westminster for over 50 years.
Furled Trail | Site Work
Artist: Christian Huizenga of Studio HUIZENGA
Location: Ewen Avenue across from Queensborough Community Centre
History: This installation, situated at the Queensborough Bus Shelter, boasts trail-like motifs, “distorted through repetition, play with scale and placement; the bus stop is a pathway, tangled to represent the suspension of a journey…The space is well-lit during the day and night, with a large skylight in the roof and integrated nighttime lighting throughout.” The designer, Christian Huizenga, is a Vancouver/ Toronto-based artist who works in sculpture and large-scale public installations.
Orca Whale | Sculpture
Location: River Market Promenade
History: “This colourful orca sculpture was donated to the City of New Westminster after the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic games.”
Diver Inverse | Sculpture
Artist: David Robinson
Location: 1100 Quayside Drive, New Westminster
History: “This sculpture is a developer-initiated public art project depicting a life-size diving figure on a three-sided, 16-foot tall concrete plinth in Renaissance Square. It was donated to the residents of New Westminster by Aragon Properties Ltd.”
Story by Brittany Tiplady