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NAIT grad works to restore CTV Edmonton totem pole

By Admin User on October 12, 2018

John Hanson graduated from the Radio and Television program at NAIT and then went on to become a successful camera operator for CTV Edmonton.

But lately, Hanson has been taking a break from shooting news to focus on a much larger project. He has put his camera down to restore the Sunwapta totem pole that sits in front of CTV Edmonton. This totem pole is the second totem pole to be placed in front of CTV Edmonton.

The previous totem pole was placed there by the companies original founder, G.R.A. Rice and now resides in the Royal Alberta Museum.

“Rice had an affinity for First Nations art,” said Hanson. “He was originally from the UK, his first wife was from Germany, they loved Western Canada, they loved the mountains, they loved all these things that are synonymous with Western Canada.”

The new totem pole was carved by Doug LaFortune, a carver from North Saanich, B.C. The totem stands at 23 feet tall and has a wingspan of 16 feet. The totem has three different sections on it. The top is an eagle’s head, the middle is a mother bear with her cub and the bottom is a beaver.

After spending years outside being battered by the elements Hanson pushed for the totem pole to be refurbished. Many cracks have appeared on the exterior of the totem pole, and Hanson had to seek LaFortune’s permission to restore the damage.

I got in touch with Doug Lafortune, to ask his permission to do this, if I could renovate his totem pole, restore it to his exact specification,” explained Hanson. 

All of the cracks need to be filled individually by Hanson with an epoxy filled syringe. The epoxy will only stay liquid for about an hour so he has to really plan out what section of cracks he will fill per batch.

Hanson has to apply a wood epoxy to each crack individually

Hanson expects to have the project completed in a few weeks.

If you want to see the original totem pole, it’s in the newly opened Royal Alberta Museum’s Human History section.



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