Why is there a carving of turkeys on the Hotel Vancouver?

I wasn’t the only one who was curious.  Glenda Bartosh too – only she knew someone to call: “I sent your turkey mystery to David Cook, a geologist/biologist who does a lot of work with Nature Vancouver, including excellent, informed tours of downtown buildings, inside and out, including the Hotel Vancouver. Here’s what he had to say.”


Very interesting.

One thing I learned during my research for the tour is that masons tend to be very secretive and often do not explain the various motifs that they depict. They seem to like the observer to use their imagination. Some are quite whimsical,as I suspect is this case. For example the town Hall in Perth (where I grew up) was built by convicts and the windows are shaped like arrows which was the design on their prison garb.

In the quote from one of my references that I have posted below there is a mention of the nationalities of the carvers, with one country where the masons came from being Turkey. However it may also be a reference to Thanksgiving i.e. thanking the hotel for being a place of safety and refuge.

The turkey is also a symbol of abundance. Another possibility is that some North American native Indians consider the turkey a rain spirit which may be a reference to the high rainfall of our area. It is interesting that the carvers have recognized the indigenous peoples elsewhere on the building i.e. the depictions of the plains Indian chiefs on the east face of the hotel.

These are the explanations I can come up with at the moment.



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