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Tunstall Totem returns thanks to Community Foundation program

Small grants spark unity among neighbours through collective projects

A Neighbourhood Small Grant from the Bowen Island Community Foundation was all that was needed to get Rafal Izdebski’s big idea off the ground — and to get the cedar sculpture at Tunstall Bay standing upright again.

For more than five decades, the Tunstall “Totem,” as many locals know it, had been perched on a bluff overlooking the beach. Not a traditional First Nations totem at all, but in fact a former prop from the 1966 film The Trap, filmed locally, the sculpture was nearly blown over by a powerful windstorm last November and significant rot at the base was revealed.

Motivated to preserve this cherished local landmark, Rafal applied for a Small Grant to pay for tools and materials and teamed up with volunteers Adam Taylor, Galen Evans, and Iishan Cruz to restore the piece, which is now securely re-installed and welcoming visitors to the bay once again.

This year, the Community Foundation funded seven diverse initiatives that brought neighbours together for a common good. The impact of Small Grants (up to $500) is diverse and far-reaching, including a butterflyway at Josephine Lake; regenerative community gardening for seniors; an Eagle Cliff neighbourhood beach party; a Little Free Library in Miller’s Landing; enhancement of the bus shelter in the Bishop’s Hill community; a spa night with an offers-and-needs market for moms; and, of course, restoration of the Tunstall Bay sculpture.

Your monthly or one-time gift to the Bowen Island Community Foundation supports Neighbourhood Small Grants so community members can put their ideas into action, making Bowen neighbourhoods better places to live.

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