Lucy Maud statue plans stalled
Ontario artist wants statue of Montgomery located in childhood province of P.E.I.
A detailed, life-size likeness of Lucy Maud Montgomery sits on a bench in Ontario but a similar sculpture is afforded no such home in her beloved P.E.I.
The Ontario bronze casting was unveiled with much ceremony last month by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
Montgomery married Presbyterian minster Reverend Ewan Macdonald and moved with him to Leaskdale, Ont. in 1911.
The Lucy Maud Montogomery Society of Ontario has bought, restored and preserved the manse where she lived and the church where her husband served. Leaskdale now shows up on Google Maps as “Home of Lucy Maud Montgomery.”
The society also commissioned the statue for those properties and it was created by nearby artist Wynn Walters of Uxbridge, Ont.
He said that Montgomery wrote almost half off all the books she produced while residing in Leaskdale so he was honoured to mark that historical site with a likeness of the author.
While working on it, he sent a miniature version to the L.M. Montgomery conference held at the University of Prince Edward Island last year.
“Everybody loved it and that is where the idea arose that there should be one of them on P.E.I.,” said Walters.
The greatest cost savings would come from casting a similar statue at the same time as the first, so Walters got to work contacting officials in P.E.I.
He began conversations with the premier’s office, with the department of tourism, with the City of Charlottetown, Parks Canada and others.
“The somewhat frustrating part is that all of them have said ‘great idea. We love the look of the sculpture but we haven’t got the money.’ “said Walters. “All of them said that if there was potential for collaboration with other interested parties, they would be interested.
“That leads me to think the door is not shut,” said Walters.
Then came elections, both municipal and provincial, and the project ground to a halt. It’s not too late, however, to get a reduced price for an L. M. Montgomery life-size statue.
Walters says he has some of the parts and can produce a second edition for about $60,000, which is less than half the normal price of a statue of that nature. That cost is essentially a donation of time and talent like the one in Ontario, said Walters.
He said he “stopped bugging people” until after the provincial election.
“I have no idea how any degree of collaboration might be stimulated,” said Walters. “What I see being required is some champion on P.E.I.”
He also does not know where the statue will go, Cavendish being a seasonal area with little extra cash to spare and Charlottetown being statue friendly but removed from Montgomery’s experience.
Ideally, Walters would like to see it at Anne of Green Gables House in Cavendish.
“But the focus there is on Anne, rather than the author but I can certainly see Lucy Maud sitting on a bench in the Anne of Green Gables (historic site) as being entirely appropriate,” said Walters.
A life-size statue of Lucy Maud Montgomery sits on a bench at an installation in Leaskdale, Ont., where the author moved with her minister husband in 1911. While making the sculpture, Ontario artist Wynn Walters was told that P.E.I. deserves a similar sculpture. The effort to bring one to the Island is stalled.