Sunday, July 11, 2010

Assiniboine Park

We have been having the most beautiful weather and I decided last Thursday that it was far too nice a day to be spent indoors cleaning the house and preparing dinner. So, a friend and I set off to explore Assiniboine Park. We used to live within walking distance but I must confess I haven't been there in years and a visit was long overdue. I took the camera and, of course, took way too many pictures and the hard part has been deciding which ones to share!

But first, some history .....

Assiniboine Park was established in 1904 and today it covers 1,100 acres, 400 acres designed in the English landscape style.

The Park includes the 700-acre Assiniboine Forest, Assiniboine Park Zoo, Assiniboine Park Conservatory, the historic Assiniboine Park Pavilion, formal and informal gardens, a sculpture garden, a miniature railway, and an outdoor bandshell theatre for performing arts and numerous other attractions.

We decided to focus on just a few areas of the park on our visit, so started off in the Pavilion, wandering through several of the galleries.

We checked out the Mask and Mythologies series by Ivan Eyre

and also a display of works by Clarence Tillenius, a noted nature artist, where his sculpture of Leo Mol was being exhibited. More on Leo Mol later!

The art galleries are lovely and some of the art on display this week was interesting (!!)

but the whole point of the day was to be outside so we headed over to the English Garden and the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden.

The English Garden, established between 1926 and 1927, is known throughout North America for its display of thousands of annual and perennial flowers. The English Garden contains nearly three acres of flowers, shrubs and trees in the traditional English style and is the perfect place to spend a peaceful hour or so.

My favourite spot in the Park is The Leo Mol Sculpture Garden which was opened in 1992. Leo Mol was a Ukrainian Canadian artist and sculptor. The Sculpture Garden is supported by private donations, and Leo Mol personally donated most of the sculpture. In 2002, his sculpture, Lumberjacks, was featured on a Canadian postage stamp.

Some of Leo Mol's most famous works include likenesses of three different Popes which stand in museums in the Vatican. Other important subjects sculpted by Mol include members of the Group of 7, Sir Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Terry Fox. His over life-size standing portrait figure of Prime Minister John George Diefenbaker stands on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Also on Parliament Hill stands a bronze statue of Queen Elizabeth II, the replica of which she unveiled here in Winnipeg on her recent visit.

More than 300 of his works are on display in the Sculpture Garden.

Leo Mol died July 4, 2009. He was 94.

So, where to next .... I've made a list! The goal is to find places to go that are free to get into which means that I'll have to face the crowds and hit the Zoo on a Tuesday!

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