Victoria makes it onto ‘Jeopardy!’ with question about ‘renowned’ local park

Victoria makes it onto 'Jeopardy!' with question about 'renowned' local park
Screenshot: Jeopardy!/CHEK

Victoria was recently featured on an episode of “Jeopardy! Second Chance” that highlighted a decades-old park packed with soaring works of art.

During the episode that aired on New Year’s Day, Monday, Jan. 1, host Ken Jennings asked: “Thunderbird Park in Victoria, B.C. is renowned for its collection of these monumental carvings, some more than 40 feet high.”

The question, which was in the “Native Americans” category, was answered correctly by contestant Christopher Pennant, a sports journalist and announcer from Chicago, Illinois. 

“What are totem poles?” Pennant said before adding $1,000 to his winnings.

Thunderbird Park, around since 1941, is located next to the Royal BC Museum (RBCM) in the city’s downtown. It came to be after a display of totems from the museum’s collection was set up at the corner of Belleville and Douglas streets, and by 1952, a pole restoration program saw Kwakwaka’wakw master carver Mungo Martin named Chief Carver.

“Over a number of years, the original poles were moved to inside storage and replaced by replica versions,” according to the RBCM, adding on its website that all of the poles now in the park were carved in the on-site carving studio building.

Indigenous artist Richard Hunt’s totem, standing eight metres (26 feet) tall, was erected in the park next to WawadiĹĄĹ‚a (Mungo Martin House) in 2021.

At the time, he told CHEK News he was honoured to have his work displayed there, especially because the park was already home to his father and brother’s totems.

“To me, Thunderbird Park actually should be a national heritage site because it’s one of the places where our culture was revived, where Mungo built this house and had a potlatch here with the government here to watch it,” said Hunt.

His totem was originally carved in 1979 and later repaired, repainted and brought down for conservation treatment before the RBCM took the opportunity to relocate it.

READ ALSO: Refurbished totem pole moved to Thunderbird Park, joining other iconic works in display

Now in its 40th season, “Jeopardy!” is an Emmy-winning quiz show with a unique question-and-answer format, and the “Second Chance” tournament is a special event that features past contestants who didn’t win their regular games.

Yet, this isn’t the first time Victoria has been featured on the show. In June 2021, for example, contestants were asked a question regarding homelessness within B.C.’s capital.

People from Vancouver Island have also been contestants, including in June 2022 when a university professor from Nanaimo made her “Jeopardy!” debut.

The show airs weeknights at 7:30 p.m. on CHEK.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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