Local sculptor Cameron Douglas saw his creation, a bronze bust of former Prime Minister R. B. Bennett, unveiled last month at Heritage Park in Calgary.
Douglas has been creating bronze sculptures for 30 years and was commissioned by the Calgary firm Bennett Jones LLP and Friends to create the larger than life portrait bust that was installed adjacent to the Winding Path Through History at Heritage Park on October 1.
Bennett, a successful Calgary lawyer and businessman, became Canada’s 11th Prime Minister from 1930 to 1935, during the height of the Great Depression.
The economic hardships and struggles of this period overshadowed the important contribution Bennett made to the nation.
Douglas said that Bennett’s most notable achievements include introducing minimum wage and limits on work hours; fair trade and anti-monopoly legislation; and the creation of the Canadian Wheat Board, the Bank of Canada and the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Corporation.
Douglas, a former art student at Nelson’s David Thompson University Centre, worked closely with the project campaign chair, Gordon Brown in developing the memorial sculpture.
Douglas said initial small studies in clay were created before a full scale mock-up in snow dubbed ‘Snow Bennett’ was built to understand the scale of the project.
A large bust was then modeled in clay.
To understand Bennett, Douglas said he read a recent biography by John Boyko – twice, and to achieve Bennett’s likeness, referred to its historical photographs and a few round, balding friends.
Once the clay work was completed a mold was made from which a wax duplicate was produced.
The wax was then delivered to Bronzart Casting in Calgary to be cast and finished in bronze.