Cates Park/Roche Point, North Vancouver

Whey-ah-wichen (Cates Park) as seen from Centennial Park. Photo by Bryan Myles
Sign for Whey-ah-wichen. Photo by Skye Constable.

Whey-ah-wichen, is an ancestral village site located on səl̓ilw̓ət (Burrard Inlet), at present day Cates Park. The hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (Hun’qumyi’num) place name means “facing both directions” and “facing the wind.”

səlilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) people have lived at and used the site of Whey-ah-wichen for thousands of years before European contact, and afterward until approximately 1869. It is an important site for the səlilwətaʔɬ Nation. Within a day’s travel, the people of Whey-ah-wichen were able to access the majority of səl̓ilw̓ət, North Vancouver, North Coquitlam, and North Burnaby using canoes and trail systems. They accessed these areas as part of their daily journeys to collect the plants and animals they used for food, medicines, and clothing. Remains of the wide variety of animals they depended on are found in the ground at Whey-ah-wichen, which includes rockfish, salmon, goldeneye and mallard ducks, harbor seal, and mussels, urchins, and clams. They also hunted beaver, black bear, wapiti (elk), and mountain goat.

Whey-ah-wichen was initially a winter village but it may have transitioned into a spring and summer village after 1846 due to introduced European diseases. The village had trench embankments and a wood tower that was also a lookout station, allowing lookouts to see past Second Narrows toward Stanley Park.  Various forms of fortification provided extra security for people gathering resources nearby.

Additional information

  • Bouchard, Randy, and Dorothy Kennedy. 1986  Squamish Nation Land Use And Occupancy. Report submitted to Squamish Nation Chiefs and Council, BC Indian Language Project, Victoria, British Columbia.
  • Carter, Anthony. 1966  Somewhere Between. Anthony Carter, Vancouver.
  • George, Gabriel. 2018  Personal Communication. Tsleil-Waututh Nation 3075 Takaya Drive North  Vancouver, BC.
  • MacDonald, Colleen, Diana Drake, John Doerksen, and Michael Cotton. 1998  Between Forest and Sea: Memories of Belcarra, Belcarra Historical Group, Belcarra B.C.
  • Matthews, John S. 1955  Conversations with Khatsahlano. Compiled by The City Archivist  Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Morin, Jesse. 2015  Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s History, Culture and Aboriginal Interests in  Eastern Burrard Inlet (Redacted Version). Report prepared for Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, Toronto, Ontario. Accessed online August 5, 2015,