Posted by: Waheeda Harris | April 5, 2012

Who will be the next Gassy Jack?

When I visit cities, I know there’s always a statue to see. I’m impressed with these pieces of art, especially when depicting a colourful character of a city’s history.

As the rest of us continue to wander the planet to see the wide variety of historical markers that draw our attention. We make the pilgrimages and take photos, to see those unique places that celebrate a milestone in history.

But I wonder, will the future generations want to create sculptures to remember the past? Who will get the nod to be immortalized in metal, and placed in the centre of the neighbourhood or city square?

I thought about how many new sculptures or statues are in remembrance of a place or an event, but not often a person.

During my visit to Vancouver, I revisited the statue of Gassy Jack, the founding father of this west coast city. In the historic neighbourhood of Gastown, a statue stands, a beacon for tourists and a reminder for locals of the history.

It made me think of who I would choose to immortalize for future tourists – who would be the person in the city where I live to be a silent welcome? As I considered who would get the nod, I wondered if it means more in a country with such a recent history. Do we need more historical reminders?

I think we do need more statues – and it may seem like a lot of money now, but it will exist for the future, a lure and memory of a city’s growth.

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