Last night the Gardens hosted a triple celebration.
It was a magical evening celebrating Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee with the unveiling of the newly restored Victoria Jubilee Fountain, which coincided with Nocturne: Art at Night.
The evening began at the Uncommon Grounds Cafe at Horticultural Hall, with a reception to thank the donors who made this restoration possible.
The gates were opened at 7PM to welcome the public to view the unveiling of the fountain and the enchantment of wandering through parts of the Gardens at night.
They came in droves, carrying the commemorative flags given out at the gates and headed for the fountain which could be seen glowing in the distance. As you got closer Handel’s Water Music could be heard along with the sound of the water flowing through the fountain. It was a mesmerizing sight!
At the bandstand, large screens displayed video footage and photo’s of the unveiling of the original fountain in 1897.
The carpet bed bearing the same image as the commemorative flags was also lit up.
A whimsical touch (and one popular with all age groups), was a large poster of Queen Victoria with her face cut out. People were lined up to have their photo’s taken.
Inside the Uncommon Grounds Cafe, The Friends of the Public Gardens handed out commemorative pins and directed the public to one of the most popular attractions of the evening… the live statue of Egeria, the nymph who graces the top of the fountain.
The evening was a resounding success!
The calm before an exciting evening. The Gardens close for 2 hours to prepare. The screens have already been put in place at the bandstand. As you can see… the Gardens are still lovely.
Photo op… who can resist?
A reception was held to thank the donor’s whose contributions made the restoration of the fountain and the bandstand possible. A sincere ‘Thank You’ from all of us.
Let the fun begin!
Vintage photo’s and video’s of the Gardens were displayed on the screens throughout the night.
The Royal cypher of Queen Elizabeth II graces the carpet bed and commemorative flags handed out to the public.
After the fountain, the live statue of Egeria was the main attraction. Most people didn’t realize she was real until someone pointed it out. Word spread like wildfire and they came to Horticultural Hall wanting to see for themselves. She stood , still as a statue for 4 hours!!!!
The piece de resistance!
The unveiling began with a reading by Tanya Davis, Poet Laureate of a moving poem she composed for the occasion.
Then, accompanied by the sounds of flowing water, Handel’s Water Music played to an ever-changing light show illuminating the fountain. It was hard to pick my favorite color as they each brought out a different detail and mood. It was just as magical viewed from across the expanse of the Gardens, where she seemed to float eerily in space. People stood for ages in the cold just soaking it all in.
If you would like to watch a video of the lit fountain click here.
Restoring a century old fountain is not a job for the faint of heart. Scott Smith by all accounts won the hearts and rested the minds of those involved, by taking charge of the restoration and not fainting during the process. Not only did the structure have to be dismantled, fixed and re-assembled (in the midst of one of the busiest tourist attractions in Halifax), but the artists and professionals who worked on her had to stay true to her origins while employing 21st century materials and innovations.
The committee set up these color renditions (courtesy of Lynda Shalagan) and images of the original fountain to decide how she would look.
Lynda Shalagan and Kellie McIvor (who did the Cultural Asset Study on the artifacts in the Gardens), let their hair down (figuratively) at the reception. Lynda, Kellie and Tracy (a multi talented gardener at the Gardens) were responsible for the beautiful (and laborious) finish on the new statue. Beautiful job ladies, Thank You!