Today, five new UBC Vancouver student residence buildings were formally opened at a special naming ceremony hosted by xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Band).
The buildings, initially called UBC Pacific Residence, were collectively gifted the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ name tə šxʷhəleləm̓s tə k̓ʷaƛ̓kʷəʔaʔɬ (The Houses of the Ones Belonging to the Saltwater) by Musqueam in the spring of 2021.
Since then, each of the five buildings received its own name:
təməs leləm̓ – Sea Otter House, opened to residents Apr. 2022
sqimək̓ʷ leləm̓ – Octopus House, opened to residents Apr. 2022
sɬewət̕ leləm̓ – Herring House, opened to residents Jan. 2022
q̓əlɬaləməcən leləm̓ – Orca House, opened to residents Sept. 2021
qʷta:yθən leləm̓ – Sturgeon House, opened to residents Sept. 2021
“UBC is deeply honoured to be gifted these hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ names from Musqueam, and we respectfully acknowledge that gift,” said UBC president and vice-chancellor Santa Ono. “UBC’s 2020 Indigenous Strategic Plan pledges to enrich our campus spaces with a stronger Indigenous presence, and we commit to being good stewards of the names that have been entrusted to us.”
“It is the university’s hope that through these names and the buildings’ design that residents and guests will develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of Musqueam history and storytelling.”
To learn how to pronounce the names, please visit UBC’s student residence webpage.
Construction on the new residences began in October 2019. The development provides 743 beds for upper-year and graduate students and another 196 hotel suites at the northeast corner of campus. Total floor size is 334,000-square feet and the total cost of the development was $165 million.
The residence buildings are between seven and 10-storeys and are sited in a horseshoe shape around the Walter Gage Residence buildings at Wesbrook Mall and Student Union Boulevard, near the AMS Nest, Aquatic Centre and bus loop.
Each building’s front features signage displaying the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and English names. Etched-glass canopies with designs by Musqueam artist Kelly Cannell cast shadows of the namesake animals over key pedestrian walkways. Inside, lobbies feature story walls, detailing the significance of each of the animals to Musqueam.
Landscaping includes plants of cultural importance to Musqueam, with signs that include the Musqueam names of the plants and their traditional use. More information about the plants is available online.
“Collectively the six names are intended to convey themes of sustainability, biodiversity, cooperation and individuality. It is an honour to receive these gifts and rewarding to be able to provide our residents with this valuable cultural knowledge through these names and the unique design elements,” noted Andrew Parr, associate vice-president, student housing & community services.
“It’s also hugely important to the university to be able to expand our student housing inventory in recognition of the challenges students face in finding affordable homes in a difficult rental market like Vancouver.”
Fees for tə šxʷhəleləm̓s tə k̓ʷaƛ̓kʷəʔaʔɬ range from $1,033 – $1,354/month. Of the 743 beds, 503 are studios, 20 are large studios, there are eight accessible studios and 53 four-bedroom suites. Units include furnished living areas and appliance-equipped kitchens.
UBC provides more on-campus student housing than any university in Canada with more than 15,000 beds in Vancouver and the Okanagan and has invested more than $634 million in new student housing over the past 10 years.
Vancouver total beds = 13,217
Okanagan total beds = 2,120