Talaysay Tours app tells Indigenous history of Stanley Park

For residents of downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park is (literally) a breath of fresh air from the concrete jungle of the city. Known for ancient cedar trees and busy bike lanes, residents now have an opportunity to hear the oral history of the park at their own speed.

Talaysay Tours, owned by Candace and Larry Campo, shíshálh (Sechelt) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Nation members, has released a new app that provides users with a self-guided tour of Stanley Park’s totem Pole Park and Beaver Lake, thanks to funding through CreativeBC and a Kickstarter campaign.

For more than 20 years, Talaysay Tours has provided unique, cultural and ecological experiences within the Squamish Nation territory, said a Sept. 28 press release.

Located in the traditional territory of the Musquem, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh Nations, Stanley Park has been a place of cultural significance for centuries.

The app utilizes smartphone GPS to determine which area of the park you are in, and then provides videos and audio recording about the area.

“This app is a beautiful demonstration of utilizing technology to share Indigenous knowledge how it was done in the old days,” said Deanna Lewis, Talaysay tour guide and cultural ambassador featured in the app, in the press release. “There is such interest in learning and sharing, our Elders are getting older and the amount of people wanting to learn can be hard to accommodate. This app is the next best thing. People can learn on their own time, in their own comfort and still receive the guidance and teachings the same way we always have.”

In the news release from Talaysay Tours, Tamar Kozlov, app videographer explained that the app can be used from anywhere in the world, allowing those with mobility issues to explore the park just as easily.

The release said, “Written languages were not historically part of Indigenous culture, knowledge transfer was always conducted through oral storytelling. Often with the same stories being retold several times to ensure the knowledge, history and wisdom were embedded in all community members.

Talasay Tours has gathered generations of oral history and teaching that are now being shared for the first time, in a traditional manner, and at users’ own pace.

“This app honours the history of oral storytelling. As people travel through Stanley Park in-person, or in the comfort of their own home, they will learn our history, stories, and culture in the same ways our ancestors would learn,” said Candace Campo in the release.

The Talaysay Tours App is now available for download and purchase through the Apple or Andriod app store for $24.99.

Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

Jordan Copp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Coast Reporter