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GLIN==> Saint Lawrence Sculpture



Submitted by Jim Smith <jcsmith@campbellmonument.com>

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CAMPBELL MONUMENT James C. Smith, 712 Dundas Street West Tel. (613) 966 5154 Belleville, ON Fax (613) 966 0323 Box 487, K8N 5B2 Email:jcsmith@campbellmonument.com


New guardian for St. Lawrence river by Anna Mehler Paperny , The Whig-Standard August 10, 2006

For Hal McCarney, the need to build a statue commemorating the St. Lawrence River's namesake was obvious.
"Nobody knows who St. Lawrence is," he said. "People who have lived there all their lives didn't know who he was, where he came from, who named it or anything else."
McCarney, who oversees the statue committee, said it's too bad that so few people know about a part of their heritage they interact with every day.
"If you asked a sample of 100 people in Kingston right now, you'd probably get 98 who didn't know anything about it," he said. "We live on the river and swim in the river and fish in the river and boat in the river, and we don't know anything about the river."
The decision to build the statue originated with the Admirals of the 1,000 Islands, who wanted to raise awareness about the history of the St. Lawrence and its namesake. It will be erected on the Palisades, a cliff overlooking the river one kilometre east of the Ivy Lea International Bridge.
"We thought, well, this was a kind of a stamp of the island lore," McCarney said. "We decided the best way to do it is to have a statue of St. Lawrence."
St. Lawrence was archdeacon of the Roman Catholic Church in AD 250, at a time when the Roman emperor Valerian was persecuting many members of the church.
Valerian demanded that St. Lawrence surrender much of the church's riches to the emperor. Lawrence refused, instead spiriting away many of the church's precious objects.


For this, Valerian had him killed and he was later declared a martyr, and eventually a saint, by members of the church.
As for the river - French explorer Jacques Cartier was docked in a bay on the north shore on Aug. 10, 1534. Because this was the feast day of St. Lawrence, Cartier named the bay after him. However, the long name didn't fit in the tiny bay in cartographers' maps, and the text spilled over into the gulf of the adjoining river.
People reading the map assumed the name referred to the entire body of water, and so the Gulf - and later the River - of St. Lawrence was born.
The statue will make its debut in a ceremony next week as part of the Festival of the Islands.
McCarney said he's optimistic the statue will prompt people to learn more about the history of St. Lawrence the person and the river.
They're going to learn and then they'll make kind of a commitment to knowing what it's all about, he said. It's one of the biggest rivers in the world, and it's time I guess Canadians learn a little bit about what it is and where it came from.
The statue, made of Indiana limestone, stands 14 feet tall and weighs about 16 tonnes.
It depicts St. Lawrence, holding a book in one hand, symbolizing the church's archives that he protected, and a gridiron, the device that was used to kill him, in the other. There is also a bag of coins, symbolizing the money he gave to the poor.
The statue's sculptor, Jim Smith, said they wanted to convey much of the saint's character and story through symbolism in the statue.
We paid particular attention to his visage and the expression on his face, to attempt to render him in such a way that his inner strength and his courage in the face of certain death was apparent in his features, Smith said, adding that the statue is done in a traditional style.
It's not an avante-garde piece, by any means, he said. The story had to be prominent, and to tell that story we had to stick to more traditional means of sculpture.
Smith admitted he himself didn't know the saint's story before he was asked to do the statue.
I'm embarrassed to say that I did not know the story, nor did I know the the story of how the whole St. Lawrence name came to the New World, either, he said, adding that delving deeper into the story has been an adventure.
Sifting through historical records wasn't the only challenge in building the statue, which is one of the larger projects that Campbell Monuments in Belleville has undertaken.
Work began in February with a quarter-scale clay model, which was transferred by means of a particularly complicated grid to the full-size stone statue, Smith said.
The sculpting team is still putting the finishing touches on the statue.
Smith said Indiana limestone was chosen for its warm tone and because it's available in large blocks, whereas local limestone is not.
Gary DeYoung, director of tourism for the Thousand Islands, said he hopes the statue will bring the region's rich history to the fore.
It's got an incredible heritage, he said. It'll be a very cool thing. I think any public work of art like this kind of spurs the imagination.
DeYoung said the statue will be visible to boaters on the St. Lawrence, and may succeed in attracting visitors to the area.
It'll just be one more point of interest on the St. Lawrence and that big area there, he said.
McCarney declined to say how much the statue cost, although DeYoung said it was in excess of $100,000. Almost the entire cost of the statue was paid for by private residents.
A lot of people have put in some really nice donations, McCarney said. It's not something you pick up at the dime store.
DeYoung said the significant donations from residents exemplify the way they feel about the space where they live.
There's always been a huge amount of pride, I think, in both the beauty and the natural and cultural heritage of the islands, he said. People really want to tell the story of where they live and how they're connected to the rest of the world.


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