Move over John A. Macdonald, there’s a new statue in town.
A bronze statue of William Henry Pope, one of P.E.I.’s Fathers of Confederation, was unveiled during a ceremony at Peakes Quay in Charlottetown Saturday.
Pope was one of P.E.I.’s steadfast supporters of Confederation and had even taken a small boat to greet the rest of the Canadian delegates when they first arrived to the 1864 Charlottetown Conference.
The statue, which is similar to the John A. Macdonald figure on Queen Street, has Pope sitting in a boat and looking out to the water.
John Horrelt, chair of the P.E.I. 2014 Community Advisory Committee, said the statue is just one of many ways the conference is being celebrated this year.
He noted the unveiling also occurred during Founders Week on P.E.I.
“It is humbling to think we stand here today, on this waterfront, and at province house is where the conversations and meetings began,” said Horrelt.
The unveiling was preceded by a re-enactment of the Canadian delegates arriving to Charlottetown. The ceremony was also followed by a shortened version of March, Memory, Dance 2014.
Quebec City deputy mayor Michelle Morin-Doyle was also present for the unveiling.
Horrelt said there is a unique historical bond between the two cities.
“While the idea of Confederation was set in motion in 1864 at the Charlottetown Conference, many of the important details vital to the formation of the nation took place in meetings in Quebec City just a few weeks later,” said Horrelt.
Morin-Doyle said Quebec City will also soon pay tribute to the conferences with another statue unveiling of Sir Etienne-Paschal Tache, a gift from P.E.I. 2014.
A garden in honour of Charlottetown, where the statue will be located, will also be unveiled in Quebec, she said.
“These festivities and the commemorative works will forever stand as a testament to the heritage we share and the ties that were forged between our two cities,” she said.
Horrelt said many of the events taking place during Founders Week are a direct result of “collaborating with our friends in Quebec.”
“In many ways, it is representative of what took place at the Charlottetown Conference 150 years ago. People from different parts of the country coming together in the spirit of cooperation and working towards a single vision.”
Apart from Pope, another statue of Sir John Hamilton Gray will also be unveiled later this year on Great George Street.
MP Gail Shea and Lt.-Gov. Frank Lewis were also in attendance for Saturday’s unveiling.
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee noted how the Charlottetown Conference ultimately led to a reputation enjoyed by Canadians even today.
“The unique thing about Canada is that this country was born through discussions, negotiations and conferences, it wasn’t born by being the country with the strongest military power. That’s why, ladies and gentleman, this country is recognized as the model country of the world and why we are so fortunate to live here.”