The sign was “always meant to be temporary – a way to bring some joy in a difficult time,” the Vancouver Park Board said.
A much-loved sign celebrating a stranded barge that washed ashore near English Bay in stormy seas is now gone.
On Thursday, the Vancouver Park Board removed the Barge Chilling sign it had erected last month as a Christmas present for the city after a barge ran aground during a violent November storm.
The sign was “always meant to be temporary – a way to bring some joy in a difficult time,” the park’s board said in a post on social media Friday.
The response to the tongue-in-cheek sign – a nod to East Vancouver’s Dude Chilling Park sign and the public art installation – has been “overwhelmingly positive,” it said.
The barge has become a local landmark that inspires countless memes and selfies and gets calls to make it and the sign a permanent fixture on the beach embankment, just like an art installation. It even has its own Twitter account .
However, the sign has also raised questions about original place names and was painted over with traditional original names on at least two occasions.
After the first instance, Sto: lo artist Ronnie Dean Harris wrote a comment on Instagram, in which he said that the beach already has a name: “I7iyelshn”, pronounced ee-ay-ul-shun, meaning “soft underfoot” on local native languages.
At the time, a spokesman for the park board said the board is “committed to reconciliation” and has been developing a naming policy with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.
On Friday, the park board said the sign served an unexpected purpose, which was “to spark conversations about reconciliation,” which was “both amazing and humiliating.”