Thursday, May 13, 2010

Toronto Art and Architecture: Flying Canoe

I have been trucking around the downtown area scoping out public art and sculpture to blog about. I think I could do one blog a week about art and architecture in the Toronto Downtown area for the rest of my life and still have something to write about in my next life.

The sculpture pictured above sits in an area of some new downtown Condominium towers in the Concord City Place Development. This is a new collection of maybe 15 to 20 new towers which are being built out over a 10-15 year period. Today's sculpture is featured in the area of one of the first few to be built - around the Navy Wharf Street, right by the Roger's Centre, Toronto's Sky Dome.

This creative work was inspired by the French Canadian Folk tale "the flying canoe".
The legend originated from a French legend about a man named Gallery, a rich nobleman who loved to hunt. In fact, he loved to hunt so much that he even skipped the Sunday mass to do so. He was condemned to fly forever through the night skies, being chased by galloping horses and howling wolves, which is reminiscent of the hunts he so loved.

French people who settled in Canada swapped stories with the native people and eventually the tale of Gallery was combined with a legend the natives had about a flying canoe. Thus we have a tale of "The Bewitched Canoe" or "La Chasse-galerie." This legend was published in The Century in August of 1892. It was written by Honore Beaugrand (1848 

The following video, by Sarah Keenlyside is a great source of information about the Chilean artist, Francisco Gazitua,  and the journey of his artwork "Barca Volante" from Chile to Toronto.  It is really interesting to hear about how the sculpture was conceived, made and eventually shipped to its location in Toronto.

The Long Voyage of Barca Volante from sarah keenlyside on Vimeo.

1 comment:

  1. That is a magnificent work of art. I like the story of the flying canoe, as well as the story of how it was made and brought to Toronto.


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