General Wolfe - Calgary, Alberta
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Country_Wife
N 51° 01.738 W 114° 05.531
11U E 703895 N 5657070
Quick Description: Statue of Major General James P. Wolfe (1727-1759), who was the British commander at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, which determined the fate of Canada.
Location: Alberta, Canada
Date Posted: 7/9/2012 8:06:49 PM
Waymark Code: WMEVFJ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 9

Long Description:

Statue of Major General James P. Wolfe (1727-1759). Wolfe was the British commander at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, which determined the fate of Canada.

Bronze statue on concrete plinth. Roughly 1.5 times life size. Wolfe holds three rolled-up documents (maps?) in his right hand, and grasps his baldric (sword-carrying shoulder sling) in his left hand. He is wearing a military uniform of the period, with a calf-length cloak on his back. He is bare-headed, with his hair in the fashionable curls and queue of his time. A sword hangs in a scabbard from his left hip, but the hilt and upper half of the blade are covered by his regimental coat and cloak. Under Wofe's left foot, an inscription on the side of the base reads: "Gorham M'f'g Co. Founders. 1898"

(For more on Gorham Manufacturing's bronze division, see link)

Created by sculptor John Massey Rhind in 1898, this statue was one of four bronze statues of historic figures by Rhind placed on the facade of the Exchange Court office building in New York City. (Called the "Astor Building" on one plaque, perhaps because it belonged to William Waldorf Astor.) However, sometime between 1945 and 1950, the four statues (of Wolfe, Peter Stuyvesant, Henry Hudson, and George Clinton) were removed from the building. The other three statues are in Academy Green Park in Kingston, NY (as of 2007). However, in 1966, the statue of Wolfe was sold to Calgary philanthropist Eric Harvie, and it was erected outside the new Calgary Centennial Planetarium in 1967. ("Where they are is known; why they went, isn't", Streetscapes column, New York Times, April 1, 2007.) The planetarium was adjacent to the historic Mewata Armouries. The planetarium later became the Calgary Science Centre, then TELUS World of Science Calgary, and in 2011, it moved to a new site and became TELUS Spark.

In 2000, the statue was removed from the planetarium site for restoration, and to make way for something more science-related. From 2000 to 2008, "the statue had been stored in a crate near Currie Barracks, where Calgarian Robert Montgomery helped track it down."

"'There, he was covered in cobwebs where he'd been lying for the last eight years,' said Montgomery, who helped spearhead the movement to restore the statue and donated funds for the statue plinth." (from "Statue stands proud again", by Jackie Komarnicki, Calgary Herald, Sept. 14, 2009)

The statue was erected on the new plinth in Calgary's South Mount Royal Park, which is located at the center of Wolfe Street, Montcalm Crescent, and Quebec Avenue SW. It was rededicated on Sept 13, 2009, to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.

There are four plaques on the plinth, one on each face.

Plaque 1:

"John Massey Rhind


"General James Wolfe, 1898


"Civic Art Collection

"Transferred from the Riveredge Foundation, The Devonian Group, 1976


As mentioned earlier, the statue was misplaced for eight years. The Riveredge Foundation and The Devonian Group are both charitable foundations established and endowed by Eric Harvie. Harvie also established the Glenbow Museum. I suspect that the final six-digit number on this plaque is an accession number to enable future researchers to quickly find information on this statue in the Glenbow Museum's archives (which include Harvie's papers). Accession numbers make everything much easier to track, and perhaps the difficulty in finding the statue itself highlighted the importance of placing this number on the statue.

Plaque 2:

"The installation of this statue of Major General James Wolfe was sponsored by the 78th Fraser Highlanders, Calgary Garrison, September 13, 2009, commemorating the 250th anniversary of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and in honour of all who make the ultimate sacrifice for their country."

Plaque 3 (on the front face of the plinth):

"James Wolfe was born in Westerham, England, on January 2, 1727. He was the son and grandson of army officers and joined his father's regiment as a second lieutenant at the age of 14, eventually attaining the rank of major general. He fought at Flanders, Dettingen, Culloden, Lauffeld and Ireland. Wolfe's first action in North America was to lead his troops ashore at Louisbourg on June 8, 1758. The fortress fell on July 27, 1758.

"The following year, Wolfe led the expedition to the Plains of Abraham at Quebec on September 13, 1759. He died in battle on that day, and King George II of Great Britain, upon hearing the news, was quoted as saying, 'Wolfe is an irreparable loss, such a head, such a heart, such a temper and such an arm are not easily to be found again.'


"This statue stood for many years in front of the Astor Building on Lower Broadway in New York City before it was purchased by Eric Harvie of Calgary for his private collection. Through his Riveredge Foundation, Harvie donated the statue to The City of Calgary in honour of Canada's centennial in 1967. It was installed at the Calgary Centennial Planetarium, where it stood until 2000, when it was removed for conservation.


"Artist J.M. Rhind (1860-1936) was born in Scotland. He studied classical sculpture in Edinburgh, Lambeth and Paris before moving to new York in 1889. Rhind had a very successful career as a sculptor, generating a large number of public monuments and architectural sculpture projects for numerous cities across the United States of America, including the King Memorial Fountain in Albany, New York (1893), the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial in Washington, DC (1909) and the George Washington monument in Newark, New Jersey (1914)."

Plaque 4:

"This plinth was donated to The City of Calgary September 13, 2009, by Margaret and Robert Montgomery in commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham."

URL of the statue: [Web Link]

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