Rob Buchanan holds up a model of the new Sternwheeler Pavillion while the real thing goes up behind him in front of the community centre.

Sternwheeler pavilion Revelstoke’s latest work of public art

The Sternwheeler pavilion, Revelstoke's latest public art project was installed in from of the community centre Wednesday afternoon.

Revelstoke’s latest public art project was installed in from of the community centre Wednesday afternoon.

The Sternwheeler Pavilion, designed by artist Rob Buchanan and built by Darryl Ross, Rudy Magirena and Robert Maraun, pays tribute to the SS Revelstoke steamboat that paddled up and down the Columbia River until it was decommissioned.

The pavilion is modelled to look like one of the wheels of the steamboat. It contains nine upright posts, with six benches and three open walkways in between them. The pavilion will be accompanied by an already-existing interpretive panel about the history of the sternwheelers on the Upper Columbia River.

It is made from local cedar that was harvested by Downie Timber and the Revelstoke Forestry Corporation. The wood was then milled by a combination of Kozek Sawmill, Straight to Heart and Lortap.

“The piece showcase the heritage story of the paddlewheelers but it also showcases the work of the local timber industry,” said Buchanan.

Funding for the pavilion is from the hotel tax.

SS Revelstoke

The SS Revelstoke docked at Wood Camp along the Columbia River. Photo Courtesy Revelstoke Museum & Archives.

Read the artist’s statement below:

The Interpretive Mission

The planning and design of the public art interpretive pavilion titled In the wake of the Sternwheelers will strive to effectively fulfil three goals:

1) To provide a multi-use, community-friendly social gathering space to be used as an outdoor extension of the Community Centre’s facilities.

2) To communicate the following heritage theme: The sternwheelers of the Upper Columbia River played a vital role in the early development of Revelstoke and their story is worthy of a prominent place in our community’s history.

3)  To showcase our local wood products. Spectacular cedar timbers from Downie Timber and Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation, milled first by Joe Kozek Sawmills and second by Keith Starling and Take it to Heart Contracting, will be medium for this piece.

During and/or after their visit to the Sternwheeler Pavilion and accompanying interpretive panel, the majority of visitors will have fulfilled the following objectives:

Behavioural Objectives:

– The user group will gather under and within the pavilion for formally or informally organized experiences such as library story time reading, community centre fitness programs like yoga or karate, small venue live theatre, wedding ceremonies, etc… The hub of the paddle wheel provides a natural space for a group activity leader to present from.

– The user group will sit on the paddle-blade benches and read a book from the library, have a lunch time snack or simply relax.

– The user group will look through the framework of paddle blades and see the Columbia River in a historical perspective.

– The user group will visit the nearby interpretive panel titled The Sternwheelers of Revelstoke (already designed for the River Heritage Trail) and spend 30 seconds to three minutes at this site and discover the history of our Revelstoke sternwheelers.

Learning Objectives:

– To know that just beyond the community centre’s backyard, sternwheelers plied up and down the Columbia River.

– To know that the Sternwheelers played a vital role in the development of Revelstoke.

Emotional Objectives:

– To provoke curiosity in this and other Revelstoke heritage stories.

– To instil a sense of pride in Revelstoke’s history and create a sense of community ownership of the site.

– To create an environment where reflection and imagination can transport the user group back to the colourful era of the sternwheelers.

– To create an environment where people feel safe and welcome to gather and spend quality time.

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