Al Purdy Memorial

The “Alfred Purdy Memorial” was created by Edwin and Veronica Dam de Nogales, and is located at the North-East corner of Queen’s Park. It is made from bronze and was erected in 2008.

Purdy, who died in 2000 at the age of 82, was a member of the Order of Canada and a two-time winner of the Governor General’s Award for his collections of poetry. In 2001, husband-and-wife sculptors Edwin and Veronica Dam de Nogales of Highgate, Ont., were hired by art philanthropist Scott Griffin and poet Dennis Lee to create a statue.

From Paul Vermeersch:

“Al Purdy, the man widely regarded as Canada’s first true national poet, died in April, National Poetry Month, in the year 2000. In a way, his death marked the end of a century in which the Canadian cultural identity — under pressure from separatist tensions, two world wars, the rapid development of the mass media and the sensation of being a young nation adrift between older colonial powers and our newer imperialist neighbour — experienced its most profound growing pains. No other poet was as resolute in addressing those pains as Alfred Wellington Purdy. He did so not only by writing about the issues head-on, but also by listening to the people around him, by writing a poetry
rooted in the daily life of the people and places of the Canada he knew and loved, from sea to sea to sea. He was writing poems that were relevant to Canadians, and, for over forty years, Canadians listened.”

photos by Shaun Merritt.