Artist unveils stone canoe sculpture at edge of Red River in Point Douglas

Artist unveils stone canoe sculpture at edge of Red River in Point Douglas

The first phase of a sculpture project has taken shape along the Red River in south Point Douglas.

The concept of the initiative was to embrace watery areas where people can fish, canoe or skate by in the winter at a river landing at the end of Annabella Street.

The spot will also serve as a place to reflect and connect with the ancient Red River, said visual artist Louis C. Bako.

“This is my neighbourhood, I’ve been here for many, many years,” said Bako, a visual artist, painter, designer, sculptor  former city planner. 

“I said it would be really nice to do something here because I can design something because I have experience.”

Bako designed the canoe sculpture. Inspired by the “Earthworks” art movement, Bako has previously explored aspects of nature — water, stones, soil and more — in his work.

Point Douglas Coun. Mike Pagtakhan and artist Louis Bako unveil the stone canoe sculpture. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Bako said the stone canoe fits perfectly into the local landscape and was made using Manitoba limestone.

The sculpture was inspired by the legend Glooscap, a Mi’kmaq god and giver of canoes.

“Glooscap is said to have come overseas from the hunting grounds of his ghostly forefathers and landed on the Atlantic coast of Kanata in a stone canoe which he plumped into the waves alongside the shore where he slept, and woke up to find it overgrown with trees, so that it looked like a rock garden,” reads a release from Bako on the mythology.

“Glooscap appointed a partridge to be the master builder of canoes for the world that flies, and it was the partridge who designed a canoe of rainbow colours for the hummingbird, together with a paddle no bigger than a pin.”

Point Douglas city Coun. Mike Pagtakhan has been working with Bako for five years to get make the sculpture a reality.

“He shared with me … a vision of how to capture the image of the river and about how to preserve this space which is really a jewel,” said Pagtakhan. 

A turtle carving is one of several etched into the stone canoe. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Patterns are etched into parts of the stone canoe.

Along with the sculpture is a tyndall stone staircase that leads to a refurbished pathway down to the river’s edge.

Published at Fri, 17 Aug 2018 16:49:15 -0400