Halifax has many art galleries (including the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Dalhousie Art Gallery and the Craig Gallery at Alderney Landing, just to name a few), but you don’t need to go inside to see art. Walking around Halifax, you’ll encounter a variety of statues that shine light on Halifax’s past. Intrigued? Read on to learn about 5 statues which reveal pieces of Halifax history.
1. Statue of Samuel Cunard – Halifax Waterfront
Even if you’re not familiar with Samuel Cunard, chances are ‘Cunard’ rings a bell for you. The Cunard Line is the leading operator of passenger ships on the North Atlantic, celebrating 175 years of operation in 2015. The shipping company was founded by Halifax native Samuel Cunard, who is commemorated by a large bronze statue on the Halifax Waterfront, just outside the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market. The statue was designed by Halifax sculptor Peter Bustin and cast by Artcast Foundry in Georgetown, Ontario.
2. Statue of Sir Winston Churchill – Spring Garden Road
There is no shortage of commemorations to Winston Churchill around the world. Halifax’s ode to Britain’s war time Prime Minister was sculpted by Croatian sculptor Oscar Nemon. Nemon is best known for his series of more than a dozen statues of Churchill, which can be found in Brussels, Copenhagen, Luxemburg, Monte Carlo, Moscow, Paris, Zagreb, Israel, Quebec, Toronto, Edmonton, Kansas City, Hyde Park, New York State, Canberra, Mexico City and many more.
Halifax’s Winston Churchill statue weighs 1.5 tons, stands ten feet high, and is often surrounded by birds and lunchtime diners on the front lawn of the former Spring Garden Road branch of the Halifax Public Library system. The statue was unveiled on January 20, 1980 and represents an image of Churchill taken during a visit to Halifax.
3. Roman Goddesses of the Public Gardens – Halifax Public Garden, Spring Garden Road
The Halifax Public Gardens is a 16-acre Victorian-style park located in downtown Halifax. The space was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1984, and is often celebrated for its array of flowers and trees. It’s also home to three statues of Roman goddesses, as well as six urns. All nine of these fixtures were gifted from the estate of chief justice Sir William Young from his personal garden.
The statues were placed in 1887 (the same year the bandstand was built) in flowerbeds around the structure. In the spring of 2014, the urns were replaced with replicas, molded from the originals.
Each Roman goddess has a different representation:
- Ceres, goddess representing agriculture and fertility
- Flore, the goddess of flowers and spring
- Diana, the goddess of the woodland and wild animals (unfortunately Diana was destroyed by vandals two years ago)
4.Statue of Robert Burns – Victoria Park
Victoria Park is a small public park that runs along South Park Street – you can find it right across Spring Garden Road from the Halifax Public Gardens. The park is home to many events, as well as a collection of statues celebrating Haligonians and cultural figures including Scottish poet Robbie Burns.
The sculpture was designed by George A. Lawson, an Edinburgh-born sculptor who is responsible for designing many statues of Burns around the world.
5. The Lions of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) – Granville Mall
If you’ve ever walked along Granville Mall (the pedestrian zone of downtown’s Granville Street) there’s a pretty good chance you’ve encountered the two lions of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Purchased by NSCAD in 1967, the lions originated from the New Customs House.
Interested in learning more about public art in the city? Be on the look out for part two of this post, with five more statues to see!