WebStamp March 21, 2018
The Family of Horses
Calgary has many unique public art projects that reflects the city’s spirit of which the Family of Horses roaming the Municipal Plaza is one that portrays our equestrian roots. Marg Southern, president of Spruce Meadow’s, commissioned the statues to commemorate that Spruce Meadows came into existence for the exclusive purpose of spreading goodwill, good friendship and good commerce. Calgary-area artist Harry O'Hanlon cast two sets of the bronze artwork, with the twin set of equestrian statues placed at Spruce Meadows.
Marg Southern and her husband Ron presented Mayor Don Hartman, on behalf of Alberta's horse industry, a miniature sculpture of the Family of Horses as part of the opening ceremonies at Olympic Plaza for the Spruce Meadows Masters horse jumping competition. The miniature Family of Horses was later given to Queen Elizabeth during her royal visit to Calgary in 1990.
After the group charged with raising funds for the sculptures folded, Marg Southern was worried the statues might never be cast if the city had to go back to the private sector for more cash. She donated an additional $45,000 after already paying $60,000, half of the $120,000 cost. Calgary citizens paid the remainder $15,000. Southern thought it wasn’t fair that artist Harry O'Hanlon might never see his work in the plaza, the winner of the civic competition, with the city failing to pay half the cost as promised.
Strategically positioned so it can be viewed without obstruction, the stallion is positioned overlooking the foal and mare signifying the strength and kinship among Calgary families and the special bond they share with the city. It is a reminder that the horse is part of our heritage and history of our fabulous city. It is important to remember how we got here.
Calgary’s Public art comes in all shapes, sizes and themes. The Family of Horses is one that is worthwhile seeing. To me, it feels like stepping into the past and walking down the streets of Calgary when the horse was the main form of transportation when I walk past. Experience the past and Calgary’s equestrian association with The Family of Horses in front of City Hall.
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