A life-size bronze statue of the late Canadian music icon who wrote Sudbury Saturday Night has been completed by Tyler Fauvelle. Tom Connors now stands outside Sudbury Arena on Elgin St.
It is believed that Stompin’ Tom Connors wrote the Sudbury anthem in 1965 after performing at The Towne House. He also played Sudbury Arena on several occasions.
Connors died in March 2013 at the age of 77. His professional career started in 1964 at the Maple Leaf Hotel in Timmins. Sudbury Saturday Night first appeared on his 1967 debut album, The Northlands’ Own Tom Connors.
The statue was commissioned by Downtown Sudbury BIA and the Stompin’ Tom Connors Commemorative Committee. The artist is donating his fees. Home Hardware (Lively), Pinehill Lumber and Equipment World donated materials and services for the project.
“I have work everywhere and I wanted something in my hometown. I hope it will inspire others who want to do commemorative art,” says Fauvelle.
Fauvelle, a sculptor based in Lively, notes, “This work is a younger Tom Connors from around the early 1970s. He was a vocal supporter of Canadian culture, and Sudbury was one of his stompin’ grounds.
“I have always appreciated his music but since I started on the sculpture I have become an absolute fan.”
Fauvelle has earned an international reputation for his work. He has been busy this past year working on several commemorative projects. His statue of Ontario founding father John Graves Simcoe was unveiled this July in Penetanguishene. It was commissioned by the Town of Penetanguishene at a reported cost of $95,000.
In addition, Fauvelle created four bronze stone-reliefs representing the Wendat Circle of Nations.
The statue and reliefs are located at the town’s waterfront.
In August, his bronze statue of Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko was unveiled in Timmins. It was commissioned by members of the Kobzar Park Rejuvenation Committee.
The Ontario Native Education Counselling Association (ONECA) has commissioned Fauvelle to create a sculpture commemorating Francis Pegahmagabow, a First World War hero. He fought in Belgium and was awarded the Military Medal for Bravery as well as two other medals. Later he served as chief and a Wasauksing First Nation band councillor.
The statue will be located on the grounds of the Charles W. Stockey Centre in Parry Sound, overlooking Georgian Bay.
Sudbury Artist Unveils Sculpture Honouring Shannen Koostachin
Public art commemorates Cree youth who led the struggle for a new school in Attawapiskat
A monument commemorating Shannen Koostachin, a young Cree activist from Attawapiskat First Nation, was unveiled on October 24th at the New Liskeard, Ontario waterfront. Koostachin led the struggle for a new school in Attawapiskat, and was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize.
Tyler Fauvelle, a professional sculptor based in Sudbury, Ontario, created the figurative bronze sculpture, which depicts Shannen dancing in traditional regalia, and features symbols reflecting her Cree heritage. (www.tylerfauvelle.ca) Jules Arita Koostachin, multi-media artist and a relative of Shannen’s, led the commemorative project, which included installing butterfly benches near the monument, and the production of a short documentary film. Kenneth (Jake) Chakasim, lecturer with the Laurentian University School of Architecture, and Rick Miller, an accomplished Canadian photographer and videographer, were part of the project team.
When the only elementary school in Attawapiskat was condemned, and replaced with portable trailers that were cold and mice-infested, Shannen Koostachin led the youth-driven Attawapiskat School Campaign, persistently advocating for a “safe and comfy” school. The students eventually succeeded, but Shannen didn’t live to see it – she was fifteen years old when her life suddenly ended in a motor vehicle accident in 2010. Family, friends and community started Shannen’s Dream, a campaign for decent schools for all First Nations children across Canada, and for quality, culturally-based education.
On October 24th, Shannen’s family joined friends and dignitaries to honour and lovingly remember Koostachin. Among the dignitaries were Theresa Spence (former Chief of Attawapiskat First Nation), Charlie Angus (MP), and Carman Kidd (Mayor of Temiskaming Shores). The solemn event included a traditional blessing, and smudge ceremony.
“I’ve attended several unveilings of my work,” said Fauvelle, “but this one was different. When the bronze of Shannen was unveiled, there wasn’t a sound. No one spoke. Then, I saw all the tears, and the quiet smiles. It was an emotional reminder that this proud young activist, admired by so many, had also been a daughter, a sister, a friend.”
Fauvelle sculpts in clay, and casts his work in bronze. His public art includes commemorations of the Wendat people, John Graves Simcoe, famous prospectors of the Porcupine gold rush, Ukrainian cultural hero Taras Shevchenko, and Canadian folk/country singer, Stompin’ Tom Connors. He is currently working on a life-sized bronze of Francis Pegahmagabow, the most highly-decorated First Nations soldier in Canadian history.