By Laurie Watt
An iconic sculpture that tells the story how the First Nations helped shape Canada, unveiled yesterday, will spend its first years at the Simcoe County Museum.
Inspired by the view from the Huronia Lookout — looking over the Minesing Wetlands and Fort Willow to Nottawasaga Bay and Georgian Bay — artist Marlene Hilton Moore created a piece that highlights the friendship.
“She has created the most magnificent sculpture. She says it’s second only to the Valiants Memorial in Ottawa,” said Tony Guergis, who chairs the Huronia Lookout Committee.
Featuring a canoe — as the piece highlights the nearby Nine Mile Portage— the sculpture puts faces on the friendship between the First Nations and European settlers.
It “really speaks to the partnership and working together, the helping one another (the way) the community has done here for hundreds of years,” he said.
The piece was designed to be at the Huronia Lookout, a site set aside several years ago, when Guergis was Springwater Township mayor and Simcoe County warden.
“It will be a gathering place for residents and visitors that not only provides an opportunity to discover Simcoe County, but a chance to celebrate our region’s past and preserve its future,” he added.
A final design and site layout for the lookout, however, isn’t finished, because the site is a closed landfill and the county is facing challenges in managing methane gas. County engineering staff estimate that could cost more than $1.4 million to address, as well as $85,0000 in annual monitoring costs or they may have to reconsider the site layout.
Meanwhile work will continue on the site, Guergis said.
The unveiling ceremony brought together the Chippewa Tri-Council — an alliance of three First Nation communities — as well as the three Rotary clubs in Barrie, the Minesing Women’s Institute, the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, the Friends of Historic Fort Willow and the Friends of the Minesing Wetlands, who first envisioned the project.