WATERLOO REGION — By the time this country celebrates its 150th birthday on July 1, two more statues will be unveiled at the Prime Minister's Walk on the historic grounds of Castle Kilbride in Baden.
The next two figures will join the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister, which was placed on the national historic site in Baden last year. Another statue, the fourth in the series, will be installed on the site around Remembrance Day.
"We wanted people to know we are moving ahead, that the collection is going to grow in the sesquicentennial year," said Jim Rodger, co-ordinator of the Prime Ministers Statue and Educational Resource Project.
The identity of the prime ministers to be immortalized in bronze this year will be made public closer to the unveilings. The statue project announced Monday it signed agreements with five sculptors from across Canada who will do the work, and create the statues as funds are raised.
Ruth Abernethy of Wellesley Township, who created the Sir John A. Macdonald statue called "A Conversation," is among the stable of artists selected for the project. Abernethy's previous works include statues of Oscar Peterson, Glenn Gould and Al Waxman.
The other artists are Darren Byers and Fred Harrison of New Brunswick, Alan Henderson of Alberta, Morgan Macdonald of Newfoundland and Nathan Scott of British Columbia.
"And three of them, Ruth, Nathan Scott in Victoria and Morgan McDonald in St. John's are all actively, as we speak, working on commissions," said Rodger.
"It is going to take us several years to finish it," Rodger said.
The inspiration for the statue project is found in Rapid City, S.D., where bronze statues of every U.S. president from George Washington to George W. Bush can be found. That project was started in 1980.
Since Wilmot Township council voted last April to have all of the statues permanently installed on the grounds of Castle Kilbride, the organizers continued to raise funds and sign contracts with sculptors.