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For Immediate Release
November 29, 2021

BC Ferries and First Peoples’ Cultural Council reveal Coast Salish artwork for Salish Heron vessel

VICTORIA – BC Ferries and the First Peoples’ Cultural Council revealed today the extraordinary design for the Salish Heron. Penelakut First Nation’s Maynard Johnny Jr. created the artwork that will adorn the Salish Heron. The artwork will be displayed on both the exterior and interior of the vessel for travellers to view. They will also be able to see the artist’s profile and read about the Coast Salish living relationship with the Salish Sea.

In the spring, the First Peoples’ Cultural Council invited Coast Salish artists to submit Expressions of Interest for consideration. From 36 submissions, a committee of Indigenous artist peers and BC Ferries representatives selected a shortlist of nine artists who were then commissioned to develop design concepts. Mr. Johnny’s design was selected from a list of 36 candidates. Criteria for selection included artistic excellence, Coast Salish artistic style, and ability to express the vessel name through artwork while effectively using the available vessel surface.

“Herons and my people once inhabited the area in what is now known as the town of Chemainus,” said Maynard Johnny Jr. “The majestic birds were once plentiful and provided the people guidance on where fish were in abundance. I have created a Salish Heron using traditional Salish design with contemporary colours that have become my signature as a Coast Salish artist. The design reflects the long beak and long neck of a Great Blue Heron, and it’s wing, tail feathers and talon. I wanted to create a Salish Heron that was fascinating to the viewer and was obvious to the eye yet kept a flow of design and colour.”

Salish Heron is the fourth Salish class vessel to be bestowed with Indigenous art. The name and artwork honours and recognizes the Coast Salish as the original mariners of the Salish Sea and represents both the land and culture of British Columbia, and the West Coast travel experience. Salish Heron was among the names selected by BC Ferries and community stakeholders 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, with capacity to carry at least 138 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew. For more information visit

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Quotes and Artwork Rendering and Artist Biography Attached.

Media Contact:
BC Ferries, Media Relations
Victoria: (250) 978-1267

Customer Contact:
Victoria: (250) 410-1465
Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779

First Peoples’ Cultural Council Contact:
Emmy McMillan
Tel: (250) 883-4077



“It is my pleasure to create a beautiful colourful Salish Heron to adorn a BC Ferries vessel and show the travellers of the Salish Sea the beauty of Salish art,” said Maynard Johnny Jr.

“Maynard Johnny has created incredible designs paying tribute to the Coast Salish People and the territory where we operate,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “It has been a privilege to work with this exceptionally talented artist and we are honoured to display his designs on our vessel, the Salish Heron.”

“The First Peoples’ Cultural Council celebrates the work of Maynard Johnny Jr. and his beautiful Salish Heron design,” Cathi Charles Wherry, Special Advisor, First Peoples’ Cultural Council. “It will serve as an expression of the ongoing, living presence of the Salish People and Nations in their homelands, and their deep relationship with the waters this vessel will travel. We are honoured to work with BC Ferries on this important project that showcases the brilliance of Indigenous artists.”

Biography – Maynard Johnny Jr.

Maynard Johnny Jr. was born in 1973 in Campbell River, B.C., and is of Coast Salish descent on his father's side from Penelakut Island and Kwakwaka'wakw on his mother's side from Cape Mudge on Quadra Island. He is primarily a self-taught artist who has been studying and working since the age of seventeen.

Maynard's signature use of bold, bright colours and graceful line work embodies the beauty and energy of contemporary Coast Salish art while drawing upon the rich history of Coast Salish two-dimensional design. He has been inspired by many North West Coast artists and for the past 27 years has focused on Coast Salish style and iconography in his work. Although Maynard is known primarily for his prints, he also works with wood carvings and engraving precious metals.

Maynard was featured in the Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 2 exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design, New York, in 2005. In 2009, Maynard’s work adorned the cedar gift boxes that were given to special guests at the Canadian Juno Music Awards. His works can also be seen in film (Say it Ain’t So) and television series (Grey’s Anatomy).

Coast Salish Artist Maynard Johnny Jr. and BC Ferries’ President and CEO Mark Collins at the artwork reveal ceremony November 29, 2021

Coast Salish Artist Maynard Johnny Jr.


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