Museum of Civilization, Gatineau

Sculpture 6
Originally uploaded by Janice Saunders

My usual approach to the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau is through the front doors, then inside to enjoy whatever particular exhibition or Imax movie that has attracted me there in the first place. But this time my approach was from behind via a lovely stroll along the Ottawa river.

I had never seen this fascinating sculpture garden before. It had been transplanted here… ha ha ha…from Montreal.

‘ The exhibition is by Montreal artist, Louis Archambault, 1915-2003. Archambault created “People”, a grouping of abstract figures, for the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 67, Montreal’s World’s Fair. He designed the sculptures on a scale that invites visitors to move among and interact with them. All the figures have simple elongated shapes that form whimsical combinations of human, bird, flower and animal imagery. The theme was perfectly suited to the forward looking optimism of Expo 67.’

You can watch a very dated but still interesting video of  the Canadian Pavilion below… the sculpture garden appears at about 14 minutes into the video. The clothes, the music, the technology, the social attitudes expressed, all describe a Canada full of the spirit of youth. Half of Canada’s population was under 25 then, quite a different story today only 43 years later with an aging population instead.



My parents went to Expo 67 when I was 4 and my brother 5, we stayed behind with a sitter. No doubt they viewed and walked through these fanciful creations made of white painted metal. Now they have a permanent home here as an important part of Canada’s history.

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