Canadian Horse statue fundraiser now underway

Unveiled at the future location of a life-size tribute to The Canadian, this maquette takes inspiration from two of Upper Canada Village’s own Canadian horses, Helen a 1998 black Canadian mare and Rocky a 2005 black Canadian gelding. (The Leader/Comfort photos)

MORRISBURG – A $310,000 fundraising campaign that will bring a life-size statue of Canada’s National Horse, the Canadian, to the Upper Canada Village entrance kicked off September 1, in advance of Horse Lovers Weekend.

The sculptor, special donors, project volunteer leaders and a large contingent of area dignitaries were on hand for the unveiling of the bronze maquette and sign standing where the sculpture will stand once completed.

The statue is designed by Dave Sheridan, an artist and sculptor from Brockville and takes inspiration from two of Upper Canada Village’s own Canadian horses, Helen a 1998 black Canadian mare and Rocky a 2005 black Canadian gelding.

Artist Dave Sheridan (l-r), Don Cook, campaign co-chair and SLPC board chair Bob Runciman.

Both of these horses bred by Upper Canada Village have enjoyed long and prosperous careers helping the Village’s interpreters bring to life the 1860s.

The statue portrays a Canadian pulling a stump out of the ground, this is exactly what many horses would have been doing in the 1800s in Upper Canada.

“With this partnership and story with the horse that Upper Canada Village interpreters so skillfully bring to life, it seems an appropriate location for a statue honouring Canada’s National Horse,” said Susan Le Clair, communications volunteer for the committee.

Canada’s Parliament passed a bill in 2002 establishing the Canadian Horse as Canada’s National Horse, recognizing the breed’s fine qualities and its contribution to Canadian history.

In his remarks, Bob Runciman, SLPC chair, spoke about the Canadian breeding program maintained at Upper Canada Village and its important role in bolstering that horse population which was dwindling. “This ensures that this symbol of Canadian heritage can be enjoyed for years to come,” said Runciman.

As part of the event $130,000 worth of donations already secured were acknowledged, the largest being from Ann and Gary Joyce, who gave $100,000. The project is entirely volunteer driven and will be wholly financed through fundraising.

The statue will have plaques recognizing donations for $1,000, $2,000, $5,000, $20,000 and the main sponsor of $100,000. The St. Lawrence Parks Commission will issue tax receipts for donations of $50 and greater.

For more information or to make a donation visit www.parks.on.ça/corporate/ongoing-projects/Canadian-Horse-statue-project/

Committee volunteer Susan Le Clair, co-chair Don Cook, SLPC chair Bob Runciman and Hollee Kew SLPC general manager and CEO, accept a $100,000 donation for The Canadian fundraiser from Ann and Gary Joyce.

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