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Installation of “iceberg” sculpture at Canadian Museum of Nature

Russ Brooks © Canadian Museum of Nature.

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Model of the Arctic iceberg sculpture.

Ottawa, October 13, 2015—A new sculpture is taking shape starting today on the grounds of the Canadian Museum of Nature. The Arctic-themed design inspired by icebergs will be part of the museum’s Landscapes of Canada Gardens, which are nearing completion.

The sculpture, designed by sculptor and adventurer William (Bill) Lishman, is composed of a number of stainless steel parts, with the tallest part extending 13 metres high. It will be the focal point for the tundra section of the gardens, which occupy the west side of the museum’s property alongside O’Connor Street. Work on the gardens started in June 2015, and the landscaping for the boreal forest and prairie grasslands sections is now complete.  

The sculpture’s size dramatizes the natural differences in scale that define Canada’s Arctic, where icebergs and towering mountains contrast with tiny plants that populate the treeless terrain.

“The sculpture will be a vivid reminder of the Arctic as one of Canada’s significant natural environments,“ says Meg Beckel, the museum’s President and CEO. “We look forward to the steel structure becoming a long-lasting attraction for visitors, as they can walk under it and enjoy the surrounding Arctic garden.“

The sculpture’s parts arrived today from the fabricators, Pure Ingenuity Inc. of Kingston. Installation may take up to a week or more (weather permitting). The five large components will be anchored to the footings then assembled and welded together. Smaller pieces representing ice chunks will be installed around the base. Once the sculpture is installed, landscapers will lay down granite and limestone rocks as well as Arctic plants to complete the tundra component of the gardens.

Lishman, a Fellow with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, has travelled extensively in the Arctic and Antarctic over the past decades. There, similar to Group of Seven artist Lawren Harris, he became inspired by the spectacular and monumental forms of icebergs. “I have every hope my work will bring a semblance of the awe felt by most who experience the vast reality of the Canadian Arctic, and I feel privileged that this piece will have a permanent home on the grounds of the Canadian Museum of Nature,“ he says. 

Lishman has pursued a career primarily as a sculptor for over half a century with many of his works in permanent exhibitions, but he is perhaps best known as "Father Goose", the first human to lead birds in the air with an aircraft. This achievement was dramatized in the 1996 Oscar-nominated film, Fly Away Home, starring Jeff Daniels.

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About the Canadian Museum of Nature
The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada's national museum of natural history and natural sciences. The museum provides evidence-based insights, inspiring experiences and meaningful engagement with nature's past, present and future. It achieves this through scientific research, a 10.5 million specimen collection, education programs, signature and travelling exhibitions, and a dynamic web site, nature.ca. 

Information for media:
Dan Smythe
Senior Media Relation Officer
Canadan Museum of Nature
613.566.4781; 613.698.9253 (cell)
dsmythe@mus-nature.ca

John Swettenham
Director, Marketing and Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
613.566.4249; 613.868.8277 (cell)
jswettenham@mus-nature.ca