Categories: Arts & Culture

St. Albert takes part in MosaiCanada 150

St. Albert's contribution to a national horticultural sculpture exhibit will be based on the Wild Rose.

The City of St. Albert will represent the province of Alberta in a spectacular horticulture exhibit called MosaiCanada to run July 1 to Oct. 15 in a park in Gatineau, Quebec.

Since 2003, MosaiCultures International, which is based in Quebec, created similar huge sculptures for exhibits including one in China. This year, in partnership with Communities in Bloom, MosaiCultures will create horticultural sculptures to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Each Canadian province and territory was invited to submit a sculpture. There will be sculptures from other countries as well.

Mosaiculture marries several techniques including sculpture, painting and living plants to create large scale sculptures. The City of St. Albert’s contribution, in a wild rose design, will include a metal sculpture that is five metres wide and three metres tall and feature more than 5,000 plants.

Dawn Fedorvich, economic development officer for the City of St. Albert said the organizers reached out to other Alberta cities, but that those cities were not interested.

“We were contacted and we worked with Travel Alberta on the concept of a wild rose that would be representative of Alberta and still be representative of St. Albert as the Botanical Arts City,” said Fedorvich.

Patrick Doyon, spokesman for MosaiCanada, said the total price tag for the mosaic project is an estimated $12 million.

As a participating Alberta municipality, the City of St. Albert’s contribution included the development of the theme and a rendering of the sculptural project as well as the volunteer efforts of local horticulturist Wayne McCutcheon.

In return, the sculpture will be given as a gift to St. Albert this fall and will be available for replanting by the spring of 2018.

“St. Albert will receive the sculpture along with a $25,000 federal government grant to help offset the cost of setting the sculpture up in a park in this city,” said Fedorvich.

All of the metal under the sculpture has been completed and McCutcheon spent last week in a greenhouse in Quebec helping to start the planting.

“Our sculpture is five metres wide by 2.5 metres long and three metres tall,” said McCutcheon, who is a retired horticulturist from the University of Alberta.

Some 5,000 plants will eventually be placed in the sculptural rose. The technique used was new to McCutcheon and is called carpet bedding. No flowering species were planted and instead the rose will boast three differently-coloured “carpeting” species: Alternanthera, which has burgundy foliage; Hypoestes, commonly called Pink Polkadot plant and silver-coloured Santolina Sage.

“It’s very labour intensive because the plants have to be placed in packed soil so they will not move in the sculpture when they are shipped from the greenhouse to Gatineau,” he said, adding that the planting will be completed by paid employees of the project.

The plants grow quickly however, and employees will need to clip them every two weeks to maintain the sculptural aspect of the design.

While the Canadian component includes the emblems of the provinces and territories as well as the RCMP, the remaining sculptures have been contributed as gifts by other countries to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary, Fedorvich said.

“The sculptures will be placed in Jacques Cartier Park, which is in Quebec, across the river from the Parliament buildings and as I visualize this, it is a huge park probably at least as big as Hawrelak Park in Edmonton. Admission will be free,” she said.

Some of the emblems chosen will be a killer whale from British Columbia, a horse in a field from New Brunswick, a gold miner from the Yukon and a fisherman and dory from Nova Scotia.

And while the Alberta rose seems huge, the sculpture that will come from China will be massive, McCutcheon said.

“The (St. Albert) rose is taller than me and will have 5,000 plants. The one from China will feature 60,000 plants,” he said.

It is not yet known where the St. Albert sculpture will be placed when it is shipped to the city in October.

“It needs to be in a prominent location, because it will be a tourist attraction. It needs to be where people can see it,” Fedorvich said.

For more information, or to see photos of some of the proposed sculptures, visit www.mosaiculturesinternationales.ca

Mosaiculture structures representing the provinces and territories of Canada: these mosaiculture artworks have been designed in consultation with each province and territory.
After the exhibition, the structures will return in their province or territory to be displayed in 2018.
• Yukon: Prospector – City of Whitehorse
• Northwest Territories: Muskoxes – City of Yellowknife
• Nunavut: Drum Dancer – Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association
• British Columbia: Bill Reid’s Killer Whale – City of Coquitlam
• Alberta: Wild Rose – City of St. Albert
• Saskatchewan: Mosaiculture artwork in development
• Manitoba: Polar Bear – Assiniboine Park Conservancy
• Ontario: Niagara Gateway – Niagara Parks Commission
• QuĂ©bec: Mosaiculture artwork in development
• New Brunswick: Horse in field – New-Brunswick Botanical Garden
• Nova Scotia: Fisherman and dory – Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens
• Prince Edward Island: Red Fox – City of Charlottetown
• Newfoundland and Labrador: Puffins – Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden

Susan Jones: Susan Jones has been a freelance writer for the St. Albert Gazette since 2009, following a 20-year career at the St. Albert Gazette. Susan writes about homes, gardens, community events and people.