Me and my trusty, ever ravenous English Springer Spaniel Kibo set out on a walk in the winter sunshine yesterday. The dry leaves and cool-ish breeze reminded me of a fall day in Ontario.

We were looking for Victoria Park on Brisbane’s north side. We were searching for the Inukshuk of Canada’s Inuit people. Canada had given the stone monument to Brisbane for World Expo 88 and to mark 200 years of European settlement in Australia.

First, though, we had to find the Inukshuk.

Victoria Park, or Barrambbin (which means windy place), is not what I expected. Most of it is golf course with rolling greens and hard round flying objects. We asked around and finally found that the park area with a small duck pond and a dried grass playing field in the lowlands between the golf course and a major highway.

But when we got there, there was no sign of the Inukshuk. Had I been looking for an object too big? I looked closer to the ground. Kibo, my hungry companion, looked closer at the ducks in the pond.We did the circumference of the small park and only when I turned back to look towards the highway did I spot the Inukshuk through a wire fence. We walked up the hill and over the highway.

Here it was, this large marker that the Inuit people of Nunavut and northern Canada used for many reasons, including to help travellers through Arctic journeys. (You can read more on Inuksuit here.)

I had expected to feel some sort of spiritual connection as I approached the Inukshuk. I had imagined being at ease here, finding a small pocket of belonging. I’d thought I might make it a place to come for contemplation and writing. I imagined holding Inukshuk Readings with other writers and friends.

But as we walked up to my piece of indigenous Canada over the thundering traffic of the highway and train lines all I felt was disconnection and disappointment. These beautiful stones did not belong here at the intersection of three pathways, sandwiched between tennis courts and a motorway.

I had not expected my quiet space of contemplation to be accompanied by the constant stressed rumble of speeding cars and trucks.

I looked up at the Inukshuk. It looked lonely. It felt lonely. It seemed oddly empty as if the spirit of the stones had left. Pushed out by noise and concrete. This is the third Brisbane home for the Inukshuk and I wondered if the spirit of the stone was off somewhere else waiting to come back. Waiting for the stones to be moved to a place where it belonged, like a place of great beauty. Maybe for stone, being here since 2005 is not such a long time. Maybe when you’re a stone spirit, it’s easier to wait out the folly of humans.

I wandered around the monument. Perhaps I had had too many expectations?No I was certain. The Inukshuk didn’t feel right. It didn’t belong.And it made me wonder, how do the indigenous people feel in the western cities we’ve built on their land?

The placard next to the Inukshuk says the people of the Northwest Territories (which in 1999 was divided into the Inuit territory of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories) offered this monument to Brisbane and offered their congratulations to Australia for ”its 200th anniversary of nationhood.”  A question popped into my head:  Really? Would the Inuit be congratulating Australia for that?

Kibo and I turn and walk back the way we came, leaving the Inukshuk, the traffic noise and the ducks behind us. If I can’t get a piece of Canada here, we might as well settle for a piece of France and go to the markets for some Basque cheese.