Artistic Renderings of Canines in the Capital: The Unofficial Tour, or, Places Around Town That Are Going to the Dogs!

The recent solo exhibit at the Ottawa Art Gallery titled ‘Entre le chien et le loup’ by David R. Harper included two enormous stuffed wolves perched up on plinths, one all black, the other white. The title of the exhibit ‘Entre le chien et le loup’ describes the light just before nightfall, when it is difficult to distinguish a dog from a wolf. The depiction of the wolves (or were they dogs?) reminded me of other works of art throughout the national capital region that incorporate members of the canid genus, so I came up with this bike tour that visits their various locations.

Our tour begins in Confederation Park across from City Hall where there is not one, but two pieces to discover. The first is a wolf incorporated into the monument commemorating aboriginal veterans, sculpted by Noel Lloyd Pinay.

Aboriginal War Veterans Monument
Aboriginal War Veterans Monument

The second sculpture is a monument dedicated to animals used in war, represented in the form of a rescue dog. It is located at the base of the memorial to soldiers from Ottawa who died in the Boer War.

Monument dedicated to Animals in War
Monument dedicated to Animals in War

The next piece is located in Gatineau outside the Canadian Museum of History. This forlorn fellow is supposed to be sitting in a copper boat surrounded by water. It’s a sculpture called ‘Namaxsala (To Travel in a Boat Together) by sculptor Anne Barkhouse. The piece is based on a story of the artist’s grandfather bringing a wolf across a treacherous river in his boat, as described on this CMH web page. I’m guessing the boat’s being repaired for leaks, so hopefully our friend won’t be landlocked for too long.

To Travel in a Boat Together
To Travel in a Boat Together

The next sculpture, titled Boat Sight by artist John McEwen, is located up river along the Voyageurs Pathway. The wolf silhouettes are cut from thick steel plate. According to the accompanying interpretive plaque, the animals represent nature reacting with fear and curiosity to the presence of a large, minimalist boat frame, representing culture.

Boat Sight
Boat Sight

Riding along the Voyageurs Pathway reminded me of one outing last year when I took this photo of a fox trotting towards me along the path, before it nonchalantly turned and wandered into the woods.

Fox!
Fox!

The last stop on the tour is in Westboro, where there’s a painting of a dalmation included in a mural commemorating fire fighting.

Dalmation
Dalmation

There are a couple of other works located further afield that incorporate canines. Both are by artist Erin Robertson in collaboration with Anna Williams. One is located at the Bellwether Longfields Transit Station, which I visited and describe in this post. Another titled Chase includes foxes, installed at the Richcraft Recreation Complex in Kanata, that I hope to ride out to visit very soon.

Et voila! Happy trails….

Author: ottawavelo

bicycler

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