Located in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, Thunderbird Park is more than just a green space in the heart of Victoria; it’s loaded with culture and history that offers a deep dive into the rich Indigenous heritage of British Columbia. This South Vancouver Island experience is perfect for anyone looking to take in some history and take a break from Victoria’s busy downtown core.
Nestled next to the Royal BC Museum, the park serves as an outdoor exhibit and a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Its collection of totem poles, First Nations monuments, and the iconic Mungo Martin House make it a must-visit landmark for anyone exploring Victoria.
Whenever we have guests visiting, we always make sure to take them through Thunderbird Park. It’s conveniently located and a wonderful addition to any Inner Harbour walking tour, whether you’re heading to Beacon Hill Park or the Royal BC Museum. We highly recommend it!
— Thunderbird Park is part of our self-guided “Victoria One Day Tour” —
Thunderbird Park is linked to the Royal BC Museum and was established in 1941 to display totem poles from the provincial collections. In 1952, a forty-year restoration program began with Chief Martin as the head carver. In 1992, all of the totem poles were replaced with replicas, and the originals were moved inside for preservation.
A traditional Kwakwaka’wakw “big house.” Built-in 1953, the Mungo Martin House pole bears Nakapankam clan crests. The house is a replica of the Nakap’ankam tribal house in which he had been born in Fort Rupert (Tsaxis).
The traditional hereditary rights to Wawadit’la get passed down and are now the property of Martin’s grandson and the house continues to be used for First Nations events.
Behind Thunderbird Park is a late 1800s street home to the Helmcken House and St. Ann’s Schoolhouse. These two buildings are free to visit and are often open to explore on Saturday and Sunday from noon until 2:00 pm.
Thunderbird Park is conveniently located in downtown Victoria, adjacent to the Royal BC Museum, making it easily accessible whether you’re a local or a tourist. The park is open year-round, allowing visitors to experience its beauty and cultural richness in every season.
Thunderbird Park is more than just a collection of totem poles and historical buildings; it’s a vibrant cultural hub that offers a unique and enriching experience for every visitor. From its towering totem poles and the iconic Mungo Martin House to the educational events and serene atmosphere, the park is a must-visit landmark in Victoria, BC. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a culture vulture, or simply looking for a peaceful escape, Thunderbird Park promises a memorable experience.
Did we miss something?
Have more to add?
We love Vancouver Island and want to keep the natural beauty. Please respect the places you visit and pack out what you pack in and leave the area better than when you arrived. We all know how much trash can spoil an experience and the environment, so please help us keep it clean!
Vancouver Island is a land of natural beauty and abundant wildlife. Please be aware of your surroundings and take the usual precautions for personal and wildlife safety.
Black bears, cougars and even wolves are common on Vancouver Island for more on Wildlife Safety Click Here
Tide and Seasonal Safety:
Changing seasons and tides can have a drastic effect on most locations on Vancouver Island. Please be cautious as the information in this post may vary depending on the time of year and weather. Make sure to check for current weather and tide information before you make your journey!
When visiting the beach, it’s essential to pay attention and stay safe! Please be cautious walking on the shore during high tide. At this time, some areas may not be accessible. Click here for the tides in your area. Be aware of ocean currents before swimming, paddle boarding or kayaking.
We would like to acknowledge the land we appreciate daily within the 50 First Nations that make up the traditional territories of the Coast Salish, Nuu chah nulth, and Kwakiutl–the first peoples of Vancouver Island .
The information on this website should not be taken as accurate, complete or up-to-date. Please check and look into the information yourself. We do not assume any liabilities for the use of this information. It is unreasonable to rely solely upon the information from this website.