Tree of Life

In Westboro at the corner of Churchill and Byron resides a tall yellow and orange tree shaped sculpture by Jennifer Stead. Prior to this sculpture being completed in 2015, Churchill Avenue underwent an extensive redevelopment to upgrade the water and sewer infrastructure, create separate bike lanes and upgrade sidewalks.

This sculpture was commissioned as part of a Public Art Program and component of the redevelopment. The approximately 5.5-meter (5.48m x 4.87m) steel sculpture, is actually either a tree or a vase of flowers depending on where the viewer stands. It consists of three viewing panels, which began as three drawings overlapped.

The inscription on the plaque which resides in a seating area near the sculpture reads:

Artist Jennifer Stead tells stories by drawing the world around her. She began this project with her thoughts and experiences of the neighbourhood. Combining these with local history, she created a drawing using pencil and charcoal that was transformed into an 18-foot tall steel sculpture. Short Story takes on the form of a tree, a landscape and a vase of flowers.

Hidden within the stems and branches are images that pay tribute to community history and the natural environment: a horse pulling logs out of the forest, ripples of river waves and local wildflowers. The past, present and future of the Ottawa Valley emerges from the myriad of images.

Jennifer Stead has been telling stories through landscape for over twenty years. Stead earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Calgary.

Completed 2015

Location: intersection of Churchill Avenue and Byron Avenue