I started this post intending to show the sculptures we had found at the University of Toronto the other day using my new book Creating Memory A Guide to Outdoor Sculpture in Toronto, but as I started reading more I decided to highlight a few at a time, starting with some of my favourites.
Canadian physician Norman Bethune (BSc Med 1916 University of Toronto) was a military surgeon, inventor and humanitarian who greatly advanced medical science and helped improve life in his adopted country of China. A sculpture celebrating his accomplishments graces the grounds of U of T’s Medical Sciences Building.
The piece was created by Toronto sculptor David Pellettier, the artist behind the ferry terminal statue of late NDP leader Jack Layton.
Bethune developed the first mobile blood bank service, which allowed for blood transfusions on battlefields. He also pioneered new surgical techniques and instruments, and was one of Canada’s earliest proponents of universal health care. He is revered in China for training its doctors and paramedics and ministering to wounded soldiers and sick villagers during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The life-size bronze sculpture features him wearing traditional Chinese clothing and a stethoscope.
Frye gained international fame with his first book, Fearful Symmetry (1947), which led to the reinterpretation of the poetry of William Blake. His lasting reputation rests principally on the theory of literary criticism that he developed in Anatomy of Criticism (1957), one of the most important works of literary theory published in the twentieth century. Frye's contributions to cultural and social criticism spanned a long career during which he earned widespread recognition and received many honours.
Darren Byers and Fred Harrison, the two artists who created the sculpture in Elliot, Maine, were on hand for the unveiling. Standing, the statue would be around seven feet tall, and it weighs approximately 300 pounds.
The images in the book that Frye holds include an angel, the Leviathan, the divine creator, piano keys, his first wife Helen, a typewriter, and a train, which the artists say were selected to represent his life, his imagination, his passions and his accomplishments.
The stack of books that are placed beside him are representative of Frye’s work as well. One book includes a stained-glass recreation of a window Frye was fond of from St. Mary’s Church in Gairford, Gloucestershire. Another book is decorated with the same design that enclosed the first edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost. The third book shows a section of William Blake’s face looking upwards. Included in the stack of books is Frye’s class planner and his personal journal, placed under his left elbow.
From left to right, you can see the following figures:
T. S. Eliot
Germaine de Staël
George Bernard Shaw
St. Thomas Aquinas
Sir Isaac Newton
St. Theresa of Avila
John Henry Newman
In fact directly across the street from the Kelly Library is this coach house.
A former stable nestled behind a large house on 39A Queens Park Circle East and invisible from the main road, the Coach House was purchased on October 24, 1963 by John Kelly, former president of St. Michael’s College, and Claude T. Bissell, former president of the University of Toronto.
Together, the duo aimed to establish a Centre for Culture and Technology there with Canadian professor, philosopher, and public intellectual, Marshall McLuhan, at the helm. The Centre became McLuhan’s office in the English Department at St. Michael’s College and provided space for McLuhan’s Monday Night Seminars.
The text on the plaque reads in English:
A pioneer of media studies, this University of Toronto professor became famous in the 1960s for his provocative theories about the impact of print and electronic media on human perception and behaviour. Teaching literary criticism led him to the idea that meaning was shaped by the technology of communication. His innovative work probed the influence of the printed word on society, the effects of combining print and images in advertising, and the world-wide impact of radio and television. The concepts of the ” global village” and “the medium is the message” made McLuhan one of the most celebrated scholars in the Western world.