Kamui Mintara (Playground of the Gods), situated on the slopes of Burnaby Mountain Park, a few steps away from the Simon Fraser University campus, was a gift to the City of Burnaby from its Japanese twin City of Kushiro.
There is a gentle reverence that pervades the pristine parkland that overlooks the city of Vancouver, reaching out towards the sea. This is a sacred place for it speaks of the mythology of the Ainu people, a culture closely connected to the water.
This sculpture in wood was created by Nuburi Toko, a renowned sculptor of the Ainu people. The Ainu are an Indigenous population that make their home on the island of Hokkaidō, Japan. In the past, they lived in areas of northeastern Honshu and the Russian Islands of Sakhalin and Kuril.
These carved columns are directly inspired by Northwest Coast totem poles, while the location and title of this sculpture are a reference Mount Daisetsu in Daisetsuzan National park near the centre of Hokkaidō. Admired for their height, beauty, and remoteness, the Ainu refer to this cluster of volcanic peaks as Kamui mintara (The playground of the gods).Simon Fraser University
I invite you to walk with me through the Playground to the Gods.