Salish Orca
Salish Orca, with artwork designed by Darlene Gait from Esquimalt Nation | BC Ferries

A new vessel is joining the BC Ferries fleet, and the operator is seeking proposals from Coast Salish artists to decorate the ship.

The new Salish-class ferry has been named the Salish Heron and will enter service in 2022 on routes in the Southern Gulf Islands.

This is the fourth Salish-Class vessel in BC Ferries’ fleet, following the Salish Orca, Salish Eagle, and Salish Raven, all of which entered service in 2017.

The names were chosen through a contest held in 2015, with Salish Heron being one of the finalists.

In partnership with the First Peoples Cultural Council (FPCC), BC Ferries will be commissioning an original design for the ship’s hull and interior.

The FPCC will be facilitating the process with an adjudication committee comprised of Indigenous artists and BC Ferries’ representatives.

Shortlisted submissions will be asked to propose specific design concepts, with one artist’s design selected in the final round for refinement and eventual application to the ship.

“This project raises the profile of Coast Salish artists in B.C. and shares the beauty of their work with an international audience,” said Sarah Pocklington, FPCC Arts Program Manager.

“Providing space for Indigenous artists is a positive step towards reconciliation and a visual acknowledgment of the thriving cultures of the First Peoples of these waters.”

Earlier artwork facilitated with the FPCC for BC Ferries includes artwork by Darlene Gait from Esquimalt Nation for the Salish Orca, John Marston from the Stz’uminus First Nation for the Salish Eagle, and Thomas Cannell from Musqueam for the Salish Raven.

The deadline for expressions of interest is May 10, 2021. Shortlisted artists will be contacted and invited to submit conceptual designs by June 14, 2021, and the final selection of artists will take place late June. For full details of the call for artists, including submission guidelines, please visit the First Peoples’ Cultural Council website at

More information on the project’s progress is available at 

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