Winnipeg, Assiniboine Park

(continuer en français) – Last updated: January 4, 2022

Assiniboine Park is a large urban park in Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba. It covers a total area of over 1100 acres, 450 hectares, most of which is occupied by an unspoiled piece of boreal forest. Approximately one-third of the area is laid out as a public garden with several distinct sections. It was created in 1904 on the banks of the Assiniboine River.

The Pavilion

Located in the centre of the public park, the Assiniboine Park Pavilion is an eye-catcher with its high tower reminiscent of European castles. The pavilion was built in the traditional English Tudor style in 1908 shortly after the creation of the park. It was destroyed by fire in 1929 and rebuilt in the same style. Nearby there is an open-air theatre whose stage is also reminiscent of the ancient English style.

The Pavilion has several uses. Initially intended as a social venue, with a restaurant room that can organise banquets, in conjunction with the large ballroom, accommodating up to 500 people. Since the renovation, it also has a tourist souvenir shop and an exhibition area.

The English Garden

Apart from the zoo, most of the public park is laid out as an English garden. Large shady alleys are lined with busts of Manitoban notable figures, forming a temple of fame of people who have distinguished themselves in various fields. For instance, there is Lionel Lemoine Fitzgerald (1890 – 1956), a painter who was a member of the Group of Seven, the only one from Western Canada.

In May, spring begins to appear in the brightly coloured tulip beds, ending the long, harsh Prairie winter.

Leo Mol

Leo Mol (1915 – 2009) is another artist honoured in the Hall of Fame. His real name was Leonid Molodozhanyn and he had a complicated journey, quite typical of many emigrants who found a second chance in America. The artist was born in the Ukraine in 1915, mobilised in the Soviet armies during the Second World War, he managed to escape in 1945 and took refuge in the Netherlands. From there he went to Canada, settling first in Saskatchewan and then in Winnipeg in 1949.

The Leo Mol Sculpture Garden is probably the most spectacular part of the Assiniboine Park. Opened in 1992, it contains more than 300 of his works, most of which were donated by the artist and others purchased by donors. The garden was subsequently enlarged twice.

Women are often represented as bathers,

Or as dancers,

While the men are shown in action.

With sometimes a twist that brings a touch of humour.

A small lake provides the opportunity to put some animal models into context.

This sculpture by Leo Mol entitled Lumberjacks was featured on a Canadian stamp in 2002.

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