Monday, June 5, 2017

Two Winged Statues in Toronto. Sirvivors Style Statues How old they really are?

Exhibition Place
Often incorrectly called the “Princess Gates,” they were constructed of precast concrete—cutting edge technology at that time. The nine pillars on either side of the main arch represent the Canadian provinces at that time.

The statue of the Goddess of Winged Victory was carved by Charles McKechnie. On either side of the central arch are various figures representing progress, industry, agriculture, arts and science— entirely appropriate for an exhibition that considered itself at the forefront of all.

By 1986 it was clear that the Winged Victory statue was deteriorating, so it was taken down and replaced the next year with an exact glass-reinforced polymer plastic copy. The nine north columns were replaced in 2004, with restoration on the rest of the structure completed in 2010.

The statue seriously deteriorated and was removed in 1987. It was replaced with an exact glass-reinforced polymer plastic copy. Are we erasing the history with these replacements of winged statues with plastic ones?

McKechnie modelled the statue on the Winged Victory of Samothrace. This famous statue, found on the island of Samothrace in 1863 by the French archaeologist Charles Champoiseau, is now in the Musee du Louvre, Paris.

The statue has a wingspan of 10 feet and is 17 feet high with the laurel crown being 85 feet above ground level.

Here is what I found about the statue: 

Winged Victory of Samothrace circa 220-185 BC Samothrace
Parian marble for the statue and gray Rhodian marble for the boat and base
total H. 5.57 m Paris, Musée du Louvre.

Only a little problem the marble or stone cannot be dated. Carbon dating work only for animals plants not for stone or marble 

The second Winged figure is in front of Canada Life Building

Winged figure holding a golden crown, at the top of the granite column.
 Here is the official History:

Gazing north on University Avenue from south off Queen Street West on June 23, 1939. The Boer War monument is visible. The monument in the foreground is to Sir Adam Beck. 

The Boer War in South Africa commenced in 1899 and ended in 1902. It was the last of the "great imperial wars" fought by the British Empire. What is great in killing people and taking other peple's land ? 

Between 6000 and 8000 Canadians volunteered to fight for Great Britain against the Afrikaners, who were settlers of Dutch heritage. The war was mainly fought against two Boer republics—the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic. 

About 90 Canadians were killed in combat and approximately 180 died of disease. 

To honor those who had perished, Toronto officials chose Walter Allward to design a memorial. He was one of Canada’s most prominent sculptors. Born in Toronto on November 18, 1876, as a boy of 14, he worked with his father, who was a carpenter. 

Walter Allward attended Central Technical School and in Toronto studied under well-known Canadian sculptors William Cruikshank and Emmanuel Hahn. He later studied in London and Paris. Returning home, he apprenticed with the architectural firm of Gibson and Simpson. While in their employment,  he worked at the Don Valley Brick Works, where he modelled architectural ornaments. 

His first important commission was in 1895, to design a figure of “Victory” on a memorial to commemorate the Northwest Rebellion. The monument was located on the southeast corner of the grounds at Queen’s Park and can still be seen today.

In the first decade of the 20th century, mature chestnut trees flanked University Avenue, the broad roadway that led to Queen’s Park. Walter Allward’s South African monument was located at the south end of avenue, which terminated at Queen Street. 

It was not extended further south until the 1930s. When the monument was dedicated in 1910, Sir John French officiated. 

He unveiled a monument that possessed a granite column, at its base three figures cast in bronze.  ( so only the base figures were installed not the old winged figure on the top. Are we missing some history of the buildings and lands that were there before colonization of this land?

  Two them were Canadian soldiers and the third was a symbolic representation of Mother Britain. At the top of the monument was a winged figure holding a golden crown. ( I believe this statue was there before the soldier statues were installed,) Crowds lined University Avenue for the occasion. 

On the east side of the avenue, a short distance north, was the Toronto Armouries, imposing a military presence at the scene. The armouries have since been demolished.

Allward was later to design the great memorial at Vimy Ridge to commemorate the First World War battle of April 1917, in northern France. The monument was dedicated in July 1936 by King Edward VIII.

I saw  an old movie that was showing the construction of the  Canada Life Building at the Open Doors Toronto 2017 and the statue was there before the building was built without the three statues that represent soldiers and glorifying war and killings.



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