New outdoor gathering place at Paul Myers Tower honours Indigenous traditions


​An outdoor gathering space at the new Paul Myers Tower at Lions Gate Hospital will honour Indigenous traditions, providing staff, medical staff, patients and families a place to practice ceremonies and rituals.

The Two Sisters Outdoor Gathering Space will be a welcoming, culturally safe environment to support Indigenous patients' cultural and spiritual care needs and protocols, such as ceremonies, smudging, drumming and singing, that are important to Indigenous healing and well-being. It will also provide cultural education to health care staff, visitors and the community.

The space will include territorial acknowledgements and reflect land-based teachings shared by the Nation. It is named after the Two Sisters mountains, the iconic peaks known also by their colonial name “the Lions" and as Ch'ích'iyúy Elx̱wíḵn in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim (the Squamish language).

Promoting a connection to land and nature, the dedicated space will include trees and plants that are indigenous to the area and a landscape feature that echoes the form of Two Sisters mountains, which can be seen from the garden.

Indigenous Cultural Safety is one of Vancouver Coastal Health's pillars. We are committed to addressing and decreasing health inequities for Indigenous people by providing culturally safe and responsive services. The new garden and community gathering place has been designed in collaboration with the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations to enhance access to traditional and ancestral medicine and healing based on the recommendations provided in the reports, In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples | Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD)

The legend of the Two Sisters - as told by Hereditary Chief Ian Campbell

Ch'ích'iyúy Elx̱wíḵn is the original name of the iconic Twin Sisters peaks on the North Shore. The story occurred in the mythological times during a time of inter-tribal warfare on the West Coast. It is said that a Haida war party attacked the Squamish people in the village of X̱wemelch'stn (Capilano). Haida warriors captured twin Squamish Schelhne7ech (Princesses) and took them back to Haida Gwaii. The warrior brothers soon fell in love with the twin sisters and were given permission to marry them. The Princesses demonstrated great integrity toward their new family and asked for the warring to end as they are now family. The Haida soon returned to make peace with the Squamish where a great feast was held in honour of the peacemakers. The Xays (Transformers) saw this great deed and transformed the twin sisters into the mountain peaks to remind each generation to live in peace with each other. 

Watch: See the Two Sisters Outdoor Gathering Space come to life.