The Great White Rock – White Rock, British Columbia - Atlas Obscura

The Great White Rock

White Rock, British Columbia

Bird dung painted this huge boulder which in turn inspired the name of a city. 


The City of White Rock, British Colombia is named after a single, giant boulder that was left behind on the shores of Semiahmoo Bay thousands of years ago.

This 486-ton granite stone was likely delivered to the shore by a breakaway piece of glacier that must have beached on the coast and melted to reveal the hitchhiking rock. Not naturally white, historically the boulder was often covered in terrific amounts of seabird excrement which made the stone stand out so much from the surrounding landscape that sailors could use it as a beacon. In the modern era the city of White Rock regularly paints the stone white lest their namesake lose its meaning. The regularly painted surface no longer signals ships, but now serves as a beacon to local graffiti artists. 

The Great White Rock did not just inspire the modern city founders but was also the subject in some of the folklore of the local Salish tribes who lived in the area before the current urban growth. 

Know Before You Go

The rock is easy to see, sitting on the shore about 200 metres east of the White Rock Pier.

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August 10, 2012

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