Continuing our series on dog art around the world, we take a look at sculptures of canines in Canada that have managed to carve a place in history as well as in the hearts of dog lovers.
The Atlantic Region
Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador
Visitors to the Gander Heritage Memorial Park can pay their respects to the memory of Sergeant Gander, a mascot for the Royal Rifles of Canada who saved the lives of many soldiers during the Battle of Hong Kong, but lost his own life in the process. Created by sculptor Morgan MacDonald, the Newfoundland silently stands guard by a statue honoring the men he once served alongside.
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Five breeds of dog are believed to have originated from Canada — the Canadian Inuit Dog, Labrador Retriever, the Newfoundland Dog the Nova Scotia Duck-Trolling Retriever, and the Tahltan Bear Dog. The Lab and the Newfoundland are honored with statues in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador at Harbourside Park in the city of St. John’s.
The true tale of a dog who embarked on a new chapter in his life after his rescue from an abusive guardian resulted not only in a classic novel (Beautiful Joe: An Autobiography of a Dog) by Margaret Marshall Saunders, but a park which bears his name. Visitors to the 8.5-acre park in Meaford will come across a bronze depiction of the beloved dog welcoming all to the area as well as a tribute in stone to Sirius, a Canadian police dog who lost his life on 9/11, a K-9 Memorial and a salute to service dogs. While at the park, dog lovers can pay their respects to Beautiful Joe at his flower-bedecked final resting place, which is topped with a plaque that tells the story of the book which brought worldwide attention to animal rights.
A tribute to Sirus, a Canadian police dog who lost his life on 9/11:
Positioned in the Place d’Armes square in 2013, a pair of bronze sculptures created by Montreal-born artist Marc-Andre J. Fortier are meant to depict cultural disparity in the country. A couture-clad woman cradling a fluffy French Poodle looks down her nose at the English- Bank of Montreal, while nearby a stylishly-suited man with an English Pug gives a haughty gaze to a building revered by French Canadians, the Notre Dame Basilica. Although the two hoity-toity humans never notice each other, their canine companions take no notice of minor differences and look intently at each other across the distance, ready to become fast friends.
The French Poodle
The English Pug
At the base of the Maissonneuve Monument to Montreal’s founder Paul Chomedey, sculptor Louis-Philippe Hebert added at depiction of Raphael-Lambert Closse and his faithful dog Pilote, whose bronze likenesses have both watched over the Place d’Armes square since 1895.
By Jean Gagnon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4677696
Paw prints and horseshoe impressions in the pavement lead visitors in Confederation Park to the Animals in War sculpture. Created by Canadian sculptor David Clendining, since November 3, 2012– a date deemed War Animals Day– a representation of a stout-hearted military dog looks out on plaques which tell of the many Canadian dogs, horses, mules and pigeons who have laid down their lives in the name of freedom.
Playfully squirting streams of water, a pack of 27 pups perched on a three-tiered fountain in Berczy Park are making a big splash with Toronto dog lovers. The 26,000 pound creation by landscape architect Claude Comrier is scheduled to be officially unveiled on June 28, 2017.
The Prairie Provinces
Since 1988, five four-legged members of the Edmonton Police Service Canine Unit have lost their lives serving and protecting their community. In recognition of their bravery, in 2015 a monument was unveiled at the police department’s kennels. Sculpted by Shirley Stephen Begg, a likeness of a K9 officer named Maverick stands guard over the names and memories of the city’s fallen canine heroes — PSD Brix, Titus, Arry, Caesar and Quanto.
His novels are literary love stories to the natural world, and the statue of author Farley Mowat which stands on the grounds of the University of Saskatchewan campus has been one way for Canadians to express their love for the renowned environmentalist. Erected in 2014 shortly after Mowat’s passing, the George Boileau sculpture includes the writer’s beloved canine companion, Chester.
An author whose works touched a universal chord with readers, in his lifetime Mowat sold more than 17 million books, which have been translated into 52 languages. Along with his look into the lives of Canadian wolves in the bestseller Never Cry Wolf and his urgent message to end the mass slaughter of whales in his book A Whale for the Killing, Mowat also told the true tale of his tail-wagging childhood chum Mutt in The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be.
The West Coast
Vancouver, British Columbia
As dog lovers, it could be said that we figuratively put our pals with paws on pedestals. Artist Gisele Amantea has made that dogged devotion literal by putting an aluminum cast canine on a 25-foot perch. Commissioned by the City of Vancouver Public Art Program and TransLink Corporation, the seven-foot-tall poodle enjoys a bird’s eye view of commuters on Main Street and 17th Avenue.
— Main Street Poodle (@MainStPoodle) June 16, 2014
Victoria, British Columbia
Known for her post-Impressionist paintings, since 2010 a realistic portrait of artist/writer Emily Carr by sculptor Barbara Paterson has greeted guests on the grounds of the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria. Animals were her constant companions in life, and depictions of two of her furry friends — Woo the Javanese monkey and her dog, Billie — keep her image company. Fido-loving fans of fine art can find out more about Carr’s pals with paws through her books, which include Emily Car & Her Dogs: Flirt, Punk and Loo, and Studio Billie’s Calendar: A Perpetual Calendar by Emily Carr.
Victoria, British Columbia
In the 1970s he was a constant presence in the life of Chateau Victoria Hotels and Suites owner Clive Piercy. Although he crossed Rainbow Bridge back in 1985, the German Short-Haired Pointer named Shaker can still be seen gazing admiringly at his favorite human thanks to the bronze sculpture that decorates a fountain outside the stylish retreat. Beloved by his pet parent, the Piercy family plot at Ross Bay Cemetery was chosen for the dog’s final resting place.