Calgary Attractions: Calgary's Public Art
Calgary has a number of public statues and other artworks around the city. Most of the interesting ones are right downtown.
The Family of Man
These ten 6.5-metre tall skinny figures live on the grounds of the Calgary Board of Education, on Macleod Trail South. They weigh an average of only 680 kilograms, being sculpted in aluminum by English artist Mario Armengol.
Centre Street Lions
The majestic lions guarding the Centre Street North bridge over the Bow
River were added to decorate the bridge was under construction, back in 1916. City council of the day thought the quotes from professional sculptors were too pricey. They lucked-out when they saw a stone lion on the porch of the northwest Calgary home of James Thomson. He happened to a city laborer who was a stonemason in Scotland.
Family of Horses, in Municipal Plaza
This family of life-sized horses has been grazing at Municipal Plaza (City Hall) since 1989. The bronze artwork by Calgary-area artist
Harry O'Hanlon was the result of a civic competition. It was paid for by Marg Southern, the president and co-chairman of Spruce Meadows, Calgary's world-class equestrian centre.
Northern Lights, at the Glenbow
The Aurora Borealis, an acrylic and aluminum sculpture rises four storeys tall in the central staircase of the Glenbow museum. The artist James Houston struggled with the size of the area it would fill, since the building was still roofless. He was thinking of this huge space, open to the sky, which inspired him to recreate the northern
lights. The Aurora Borealis was produced in 1976.
Olympic Arch (University of Calgary)
Several "arch" artworks were created in honor of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games held in Calgary. The largest of these arches over the University of Calgary entrance from 32nd Avenue NW.
Another Olympic Arch, created by Colette Whiten and Paul Kipps of Toronto, is in front of the University of Calgary's physical education complex (and the Olympic Oval). It used to be the official entrance to the Athlete's Village at the U of C during the games. After the Olympics, the arch was displayed in front of the City Hall, but was returned to its original site in 1991 for the U of C's 25th anniversary.