By Kalinowski, Tim on February 8, 2019.
A proposed bronze sculpture paying tribute to Lethbridge’s military history to be permanently housed at Exhibition Park has local supporters excited.
The sculpture by local artist Don Toney depicts a First World War artillery unit from Lethbridge mounted on a team of six horses pulling an 18-pounder field gun and carriage into battle. Organizers used Thursday’s unveiling of a quarter-scale plastic model in the Exhibition’s Saddle Room as the unofficial kickoff for its fundraising drive that will go from now until Veterans Week in November.
The estimated cost to produce the 12-foot-long and four-foot-high sculpture in bronze is $200,000. Once the money is raised, the organizers estimate it will likely take a year to complete.
Lethbridge United Services Institute president Glenn Miller explained Lethbridge as a city has a strong historical connection with the Canadian artillery which continues to this day, and this was the reason behind the choice of the subject matter for the proposed sculpture.
“This statue is a tribute to all veterans,” stated Miller, “but the theme chosen is that connection with the city being artillery. This project is the means for us to have that visual reminder and education tool.”
“Horses also played a vital role in the contribution and success of World War I,” Miller added; especially in connection with the Exhibition and the nearby ranching community.
Exhibition Park CEO Rudy Friesen said his organization is honoured to be chosen to receive the sculpture once it is completed.
“It’s a great remembrance for the community, and it is great piece of history for Exhibition Park,” stated Friesen. “We have been on this location since 1910, and this property played a significant part in both World Wars. It is nice to recognize with a statue this history at this location.”
Evelyn Leffingwell, whose father-in-law served in both World Wars and whose brothers are both veterans, came out on Thursday to lend her support.
“I think (the sculpture) is absolutely gorgeous,” she said. “I hope more people get to know just what went on in the war through this work.”
Those wishing to donate to help bring the sculpture to Exhibition Park can do so by making their donations payable through Lethbridge County. The County will issue a tax receipt for all contributors. The quarter-scale model will be housed at Exhibition Park until November for anyone who wants to view it.
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