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A Walk with the Kids

Paul Wolfe
Mother partridge 1m high x 0.7m wide x 0.8m deep (3'h x 2.5'w x 3'd); Chicks, each 0.7m square (2.5')
Reinforced concrete slabs
Boulevard Lake Sculpture Garden
Directions: Park at the end of Rita Street. Exit and turn right along the paved walkway for approximately 5 minutes (Boulevard Lake should be at left).

The Boulevard Lake sculpture garden project was the result of collaboration between the City’s Recreation & Culture and Parks Divisions, with funding from the Clean, Green & Beautiful Committee. The guiding theme for the artwork was “Bird Sanctuaries in an Urban Forest.”

The competition was open to local and regionally-based artists who were applying to their first public art competition. The City provided a workshop series guiding artists through the City’s public art process, including a presentation by the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists. The works of three Thunder Bay-based artists were selected for the sculpture garden.

The playful sculptures of a family of partridge (grouse) was created by artist Paul Wolfe and inspired by the many families who walk the pathways of Boulevard Lake. Concrete, an urban material, sculptued into the forms of wild partidges, expresses the duality of urban and rural in Thunder Bay. The placement and location of each chick is a metaphor for families: some follow close by, others prefer the middle, still others tend to go their own way, yet all are part of the same family unit.

Boulevard Lake is a common place to walk for families that is both accessible and peaceful. When contemplating the site it seemed that the elements of birds, family and 'commonness' were most important. As one who grew up in Northern Ontario, there are fewer more ‘common’ birds than the partridge. At the same time, the sight of a mother leading her chicks is a very familial image.

-Paul Wolfe (artist)