Rock Legends

Siwash Rock Sunset Photo: Rob Weiss

From the Commodore Ballroom to Empire Stadium and Rogers Arena, Vancouver has a rich and colourful rock history. Bands like U2, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, David Bowie, Nirvana, KISS and the Police have played our city, yet for those who like to venture outside, there are two headliners that always sell out!   Like their musical counterparts, Siwash Rock and White Rock are true rock legends!

Great Blue Heron perched on Siwash Rock Photo: Rob Weiss

Strolling the seawall between Third Beach and the Lions Gate Bridge, it is almost impossible to pass Siwash Rock without pausing to savour the view.  More than an iconic viewpoint, Siwash Rock in Stanley Park is both a symbol and myth.  The Squamish First Nations people call this fantastic sea stack Skalsh or Slhxi7lsh.  According to legend, Siwash Rock represents one of man’s sacred vows, cleanliness of fatherhood.  The inscription on a plaque dedicated to the rock reads, “Indian Legend tells us that this 50-foot high pinnacle of rock stands as an imperishable monument to “Sklash the Unselfish”, who was turned into stone by “Q’uas the Transformer” as a reward for his unselfishness.  Should legend hold true, perhaps Siwash Rock is the ultimate father figure?

White Rock Photo: Rob Weiss

Further south, in the quaint little City by the Sea lies another rock legend, simply named The White Rock.  While arguably its name lacks imagination, the legend of The White Rock is a captivating love story about the son of a Sea God and the daughter of a Cowichan chief.  Angered at the thought of a mortal and a God marrying, the elders, forbade their union.  Enraged at the thought of losing his love, the young man, hurled a huge white rock out of the sea and claimed that wherever the rock fell, the couple would make their home.  The rock landed on the shores of Semiahmoo Bay and the couple made their home together.  Their descendants became the people of the Semiahmoo First Nation. Scientists and geologist may argue that the 486-ton granite boulder, known as the White Rock, is a glacial erratic that migrated south during the last ice age.  I prefer to picture the young Sea God staking his claim on behalf of his lady love!

Mount Baker looms over White Rock Photo: Rob Weiss

Whenever I find myself near Siwash Rock or White Rock, I always feel humbled.  These geological masterpieces, whims of nature, have inspired and will likely continue to inspire artists, poets, musicians and photographers.  They deservedly have become iconic symbols of the cities they represent.  Like all legends, these rocks will endure and live on for future generations to admire.  Now that’s music to my ears.

Getting There:

Located in world famous Stanley Park, Siwash Rock is accessible from the seawall or can be viewed from a lookout point off Park Drive.

The seaside community of White Rock is only 48 km south of Vancouver, ten minutes from the Canada/USA border.  Discover the White Rock by strolling along the beach promenade.  Be sure to venture out along the pier for exceptional views of Semiahmoo Bay.



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