Public Art Registry
Golden Tree
Photo: photo credit not available
Golden Tree by Douglas Coupland - photo by photo credit not available
8018 - 8198 Cambie
Corner of SW Marine Drive and Cambie Street
In place
City of Vancouver
City of Vancouver Private Development Program
Artist statement
"I remember growing up and seeing photos of redwood stumps in northern California, photos in which, “Wow! You can drive a car right through it!” I remember always thinking of what an affront to nature it was to use a car as a standard of bigness, but that was the early twentieth century. Later in the century, in 1995, I was in Ireland and phoning home for voicemail messages and had one from my mother that said, “Hi Dear, Constable So-and-so from the Vancouver Police phoned to ask if you’d deliberately left your VW parked inside the Hollow Tree in Stanley Park before you left and, to be honest, with you we never know, so could you give him a ring?” My car had been stolen from an underground parkade and abandoned in the tree by joyriders. In 2006 Stanley Park’s Hollow Tree, an 800-year-old Western red cedar stump, was damaged in a particularly bad storm, and the City of Vancouver made a stab at removing it. I don’t know what they were thinking. Everyone in the city went crazy. The Hollow Tree is where people had their grad photos taken. It’s where they had their first kiss; it’s where everybody takes their relatives from overseas. In 2009 the Hollow Tree Conservation Society, funded entirely by private donations, stabilized the tree, and in October 2011 it was restored as well as possible, and made open to the public. I was pretty supportive of this project but years later I’m looking at the tree and I can see its days are numbered. It’s a piece of dead wood hundreds of years old. It’s rotting. It’s nature. So I wondered, “Why not transform the tree? Why not put it through a mirror and have it come out the other side as a mythical entity?” This is what I did with the Golden Tree at the corner of SW Marine Drive and Cambie Street. It’s a mirror of something that once was — and will still be for a little while — and it establishes the existence of an evolving city that has an evolving sense of nature and ecosystems. It’s also located at the Canada Line Station, and I realize for many people coming to Vancouver, they’ll see the Golden Tree before they see the Hollow Tree, as if reading the chapters in a book in the wrong order, and isn’t that life?"
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