Monday, November 29, 2021


Artist Maynard Johnny Jr. with his Coast Salish artwork

BC Ferries and the First Peoples' Cultural Council have revealed the design for the Salish Heron. As the fourth vessel of the Salish Class ferries -- the first three were built in 2016 -- the Salish Heron will enter service in the spring of 2022 in the Southern Gulf Islands. 

Maynard Johnny Jr. of the Penelakut First Nations created the artwork, which was selected from 36 submissions. Criteria for selection included artistic excellence; Coast Salish artistic style; and the ability to express the vessel's name through artwork while effective using the available vessel service. 

"Herons and my people once inhabited the area in what is now known as the town of Chamainus," said Maynard Johnny Jr. "The majestic birds were once plentiful and provided the people guidance on where fish were in abundance." The BC artist explained that he created a Salish Heron using traditional Salish design with contemporary colors that have become his signature as a Coast Salish artist. "The design reflects the long beak and long neck of a Great Blue Heron and its wing, tail feathers and talon," he explained. His design will be displayed on both the exterior and interior of the vessel for travelers to view.

Salish Heron is the fourth Salish Class vessel to be bestowed with indigenous art. The name and artwork honors and recognizes the Coast Salish as the original mariners of the Salish Sea, representing both the land and culture of British Columbia. The name Salish Heron was selected during a public naming contest for the Salish Class ferries in 2015. The Salish Heron is identical to the three Salish Class ferries built for BC Ferries in 2016. The vessel has a capacity to carry at least 138 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew. 

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