Editorial: The ‘mane’ idea
Calgary Herald April 2, 2013
A thing of beauty is a joy forever — unless it’s stuck away in a city storage facility where nobody can enjoy it.The three lion sculptures that graced the Centre Street Bridge for so many years will find new pride of place if they are included as part of the public art gracing the new west LRT line. There are four lions and they were familiar guardians of the bridge from 1916 until they were removed in 1999 during bridge restoration. One was later restored and moved to City Hall’s entrance, but the other three have languished, victims of the weather, in an outdoor storage yard since then.
So far, the discussion centres around using two of the lions as public art. We would vote for all three being used. An appraisal done last year estimated restoration of all three would cost $625,000. With the price of public art for the west LRT line hovering between $3.5 million and $8.6 million, that six-figure restoration sum is reasonable.
There’s no reason to let the third lion remain in the yard; it should be as much a part of the public art scene as the other two.
Public art is a vital component of any cityscape and the lions have been part of that tradition in Calgary for nearly 100 years. To quibble over whether to spend one-third of that $625,000 for the third lion seems petty.
Urban art is a priceless addition to Calgary, enhancing every citizen’s experience of this city — and that’s the “mane” idea.
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