Lucy Maud statue plans stalled

On­tario artist wants statue of Mont­gomery lo­cated in child­hood province of P.E.I.

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY NIGEL ARMSTRONG

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.

SUB­MIT­TED

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.

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