Marking a connection

Mosaics along Bowker Creek to help educate and engage community

Certified stream and wetland keeper and artist Joanne Parker Robertson works with her daughter, Amelia, 9, to figure out the best way to attach a stone mosaic made by Carolyn Knight to a rock in the Monteith Indigenous Plant Area.

Three mosaic installations will soon mark the creek where water flows through the connecting municipalities of Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay.

The returning home stones, created by Victoria-based community artist Carolyn Knight, are part of the Bowker Creek Initiative, providing education and community involvement in the restoration project.

The stone markers depict images of jumping and swimming coho salmon in pebble mosaic.

“We use that symbol of salmon in hope that changes to integrated storm water management will increase the water quality,” Knight said. “But also, it speaks to the connection between streams – urban streams – and the marine environment and water quality.”

The waterway historically housed coho salmon, and the hope is that one day, salmon will return to Bowker Creek.

Knight began the mosaics in 2007, thanks to a $5,000 grant from the City of Victoria, and is near the end of her project. A stone has already been placed in Saanich at the foot bridge at Cedar Hill Recreation Centre, with another being installed at the Monteith Indigenous Plant Area in Oak Bay and plans are for the third to be placed on Trent Street in Victoria.

Each stone was gifted to the municipalities during the 2008 Bowker Creek Community Celebration.

The art pays homage to the environment, Knight said, adding she hopes people learn to care for urban streams.

“I was an art kid at Oak Bay High school and that was a very meaningful place, that creek,” she said. “We did all kinds of sketching for art classes there. It’s a significant place.”

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