Bronze chairs adorn square as tribute to furniture maker

Dave Stewart
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Bronze chairs adorn square as tribute to furniture maker

Five large bronze chairs now adorn a historic square in Charlottetown as a tribute to a former city councillor and businessman.
The city spent just under $13,000 for the chairs in Kings Square to honour Mark Butcher, who history buffs may remember as a big furniture maker in the 1800s.
Butcher operated a factory on the corner of Kent and Hillsborough streets, now the site of the Maritime Christian College.
Coun. Kim Devine, chair of heritage, said Butcher had a very strong presence around Kings Square and the idea arose to design bronze sculptures that honour some of the furniture Butcher was known to have created.
"Residents in the area were very interested,'' Devine said of talks that have gone back a year.
"Now we need a interpretive panel explaining who Mark is, what he did and why the chairs are in Kings Square.''
In addition to chairs and other types of furniture, Butcher also designed caskets.
The factory, which he bought in 1869, was destroyed by fire in 1887. The brick building, which replaced the Butcher factory, still stands today.
Devine said in 1867, the factory employed 40 people. In 1874, 20 additional joiners and cabinetmakers were needed.
One of his employees specialized in designing figureheads for ships while another was good at making coffins.
In addition to Butcher's retail store in Charlottetown, he also had branch businesses in Cardigan and Georgetown.
"I think this is a great way to promote city art and celebrate a talented artist in our history as well as beautifying one of our lovely city squares at the same time.''

Organizations: Maritime Christian College

Geographic location: Kings Square, Charlottetown, Kent Hillsborough Cardigan Georgetown

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Recent comments

  • Halloween...
    June 21, 2010 - 20:31

    Better move them before Halloween or have a cop sitting on each one for that week.

  • Dick
    June 21, 2010 - 20:26

    Yeah....this was a nice gesture to honor the chairmaker, but to throw away $13,000 of the taxpayers money is outrageous!!!!!! The chair will more then likely get damaged somehow and will end up being an even bigger waste of money. Whoever thought it was a good idea to spend that much money on some stupid bronze chairs to honor someone, needs to have their head examined. A plaque would have been more then enough. Whats next?? A golden statue of Robert Ghiz worth $100,000??? Give me a break! I guess this just shows who the govenment is really working for and it isn't the average taxpayer by the looks of it.

  • City Resident
    June 21, 2010 - 20:25

    I can't believe the City of Ch'town would spend 13k on chairs. What are they thinking !!!!!!!!!!! Obviously Devine and Co. are not. One would think the 13k could be used in a way that would benefit more of the city residents.

  • john
    June 21, 2010 - 20:19

    i understand the sunflower baskets cost 20k.along with the chairs we can kiss 33k of taxpayers money good bye!now we have a strike at the waste water plant looming and the reported difference is 16 k,i know where i would rather see my taxes go.a cleaner harbor ,not a chunk of bronze that is rather stunned looking nor a bunch of one shot flowers.what is growing behind city hall that the are smoking?it ain't sunflowers!also let us not forget the raises and perks council gave themselves,can you say 20%?

  • chunkymonkey
    June 21, 2010 - 20:13

    13k for 5 chairs?20k for sunflower baskets (a rumor of the cost ) 20% increase for blackberry's,computers and internet plus other perks?can we afford this council?funny what ever their heart desires,or their friends, seem to be no why do we have a strike pending at the treatment plant if the difference is 16k?seems to me you could sell a few chairs and baskets and settle?oh,i forgot,council only looks inward not forward.if they knew what they were doing that smell on the waterfront would not have happened.a useless bunch if ever there was,can't wait for the next election,right clifford?

  • Value Heritage
    June 21, 2010 - 20:09

    Solid investment in appreciation of sense of place. They are tasteful, functional and provoke discussion and interest in the history of our city.

  • umm
    June 21, 2010 - 20:08

    Maybe dedicate a park to him and put some nice playground equipment there instead.. that way the kids of all the homeless people this winter due to increases in fuel, gas, rent, food,etc will have a place to play.

    But hey, maybe they were thinking of how many will be sitting there on the chairs looking at the classifieds for cheaper rentals since they know they will be evicted due to rising costs....

  • umm
    June 21, 2010 - 20:08

    Sorry Government stinks, after buying the chairs, there is no money left for helping out with heating..

    Nice to see where the priorities are..

    How long will it be before someone tries to hock them as scrap metal or they get damaged in the park....

  • Dirk
    June 21, 2010 - 20:07

    These beautiful works of Art are a great addition to our city!

  • confused
    June 21, 2010 - 20:04

    Thirteen thou for chairs to honor someone from the eighteen hundreds ? This government should give the immigrants back their money before any more absurd waste occurs. And if the immigrants' money is not in government hands they should still make sure it is returned in a timely fashion. What will the next dumb idea be ? What the bloody blazes good are those chairs going to do sitting there covered in ice and snow in January ? Folks losing their homes could, I suppose, use them for foundation, spread a large blanket over one and crawl inside. This is totally pathetic.

  • johnny
    June 21, 2010 - 20:04

    20k for sunflower basket (rumor has it) and 13k chairs.i guess council has nothing better to waste taxpayers money on.add this up and they could avert a strike at the waste water plant and still be in money.but that would not look pretty to the tourists.they would rather have disgruntled employees as well have pretty streets.after all who cares about employees anyway,the council got their 20% raise and lot of perks.good leadership Clifford,hope yer butt freezes to your 4 grand chair in the park.

  • umm
    June 21, 2010 - 20:04

    Couldnt they have put a plaque up instead? Chairs?? $13k?? Nice to see our tax money spent wisely.... (sarcastic)

  • government
    June 21, 2010 - 19:50

    i disagree with the 13k chairs. I agree with honoring the man, but with a plaque!!! if theyre spending 13k on chairs, how can they help us this winter with heating oil?

  • Lucie
    June 21, 2010 - 19:50

    Not a great way to be spending the taxpayers hard earned money. We do good to put food on our tables.. But not the fault of Ghiz, This is a City matter, Devine really needs to be gone.. It appears she's not going to be effected by the high cost of heat & electricity this coming winter. We are not all as lucky as her I guess.. A plaque would have done just fine. My husband was a very hard worker all his life & left this world way before his time , he was always helping someone, (for free) Nothing for him or anyone else like him to honor what they did in life. So, I could think of much better places for that amount of the taxpayers dollars to go.. Get a grip City of Charlottetown, I can see a major shake Up come next election, & rightfully so...

  • JP
    June 21, 2010 - 19:50

    I love the chairs. They are a beautiful addition. That said, when times are tough for most Islanders, I'm not sure that this was the best use of tax dollars.

  • Hmmm
    June 21, 2010 - 19:48

    Wow, Chairs? $ 13,000? I agree that a nice plaque would have been just fine, Certainly a waste of the tax payers money!!

  • what a waste
    June 21, 2010 - 19:48

    So, $13,000 (not $130, or $1300) on chairs. Wasteful? I'd say so. I'd like to know the cost too of each of those containers of sunflowers on water street -a few is nice, but the amount is ridiculous. Another waste.

  • Love the Chairs
    June 21, 2010 - 19:47

    I LOVE THE CHAIRS. They are good art and certainly draw the eye into the little park. I say bravo to the city for doing this. The cost is not that outrageous considering all the money the city has put into beautifying the waterfront. It is nice to see something in another part of the city. Thank you. Thank you.

  • stupid
    June 21, 2010 - 19:46

    Stupidest idea i've ever heard of ......way to go Devine !!

  • On the fence
    June 21, 2010 - 19:45

    I agree that the price of the chairs was way too much to be spending in memory of one of our forefathers at this chair would have been fine - after all, there are enough original Butcher chairs hanging around Island homes to keep his memory alive - and couldn't the artist at least have kept the form true to the original? These over scale pieces are just not quite right - and the patina is the wrong colour! They say nothing of the spirit of the times! Incidentally, who did them? Why isn't the perpetrator of this creative crime mentioned in the article - is he/she too ashamed of the result?

  • craig
    June 21, 2010 - 19:44

    I agree that these chairs are a welcome addition to one of our city's parks. They provoke interest in the history of our city, and help beautify our urban landscape.

    For those of you who think that the money should have been used to help with home heating costs, read the article again. This money was spent by the city (a.k.a. municipal government), and not by the province.

    Lines blurred much?