Monday, August 6, 2012

Ontario's Simcoe Day or Civic Holiday

Simcoe Day ? or Civic Holiday?
by Maureen Bayliss

There are many artistic tributes to our first Lieutenant - Governor of Upper Canada, and rightfully so. The name John Graves Simcoe has graced numerous pages of our history books with accounts of
 his supreme bravery, humanity and dedication to responsible governing of the infant Upper Canada.

Walter Seymour Allward was born in Toronto, the son of John A. Allward of Newfoundland. Educated in Toronto public schools, his first job was at the age of 14 as an assistant to his carpenter father. Allward first served an apprenticeship with the architectural firm Gibson and Simpson before working at the Don Valley Brick Works, where he modelled architectural ornaments. There he showed skill in clay mold making. This early training, supplemented by modelling
 John Graves Simcoe by Walter Allward

classes at the New Technical School, prepared Allward for his lifelong career as a monumental sculptor.

Allward's true talent lay in his heroic monuments. These included the design work for the Boer War Memorial Fountain in Windsor, Ontario (1906), the South African War Memorial in Toronto (1910), The Baldwin-Lafontaine Monument on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa (1914) and the Bell Memorial commemorating
Alexander Graham Bell's invention of the telephone in Brantford, Ontario (1917).

Interestingly, Allward had also completed design work on a memorial to King Edward VII but the onset of the World War I prevented it's completion. The figures of Veritas (Truth) and Justicia (Justice) were cast in bronze for the memorial. Discovered in their crates in 1969 buried under a parking lot, in 1970 they were installed outside the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa.

 Allward also designed numerous municipal cenotaphs around the country, including the Stratford Memorial (1922), the Peterborough Memorial (1929) and the Brant War Memorial (1933), but most notably his
design and work on the sculptures of the Vimy Memorial.

The art of Walter Allward lives on in numerous substantial monument and designs in Canada and abroad. Many of his personal tools were bequeathed to his protégé Emanuel Hahn, who in turn gifted some to his protégé Elizabeth Bradford Holbrook. Today some of those tools are being used by Canadian sculptor
Christian Cardell Corbet  as gifted to him by his mentor Bradford Holbrook.

Allward was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and a character in Jane Urquhart's
book "The Stone Carvers"

 In November 2011 the Chief Justice of Canada, Beverly McLachline unveiled a portrait bust by
Christian Cardell Corbet  of Walter Allward titled "Walter of Vimy" at the Supreme Court of Canada,
now a part of the Court's permanent collection.

Walter of Vimy

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