Rossburn proceeding with special project
Duke the Bear statue to be erected in park setting
Having adopted the Black Bear as its theme a few years back, Rossburn continues to work valiantly to see a life size, bronze statue in honor of the world famous black bear “Duke” erected in the community in time for the town’s 100th anniversary celebration next summer.
The statue will be approximately 7 ft. x 7 ft. in total with the bear standing with his front paw on an about 14” high stone. The bronze is being created by Ruth Abernethy of Wellesly, ON, who has some family roots in the Russell area.
Along with this project, black bear symbols have been erected on street signs throughout the town, and on two community entrance signs on the east and west sides of Rossburn adjacent to Highway 45 thanks to involvement by different entities. The Rossburn Daycare also took on the theme by choosing the Little Cubs Den as their name upon opening.
Community Development Officer, Ilse Ketelsen, said the bronze statue of the area’s famous bear Duke will be prominently displayed in the Rossburn Memory Park on Victoria Ave E.
“The community tribute to “Duke”, one of the area’s largest, most beloved black bears, that tipped the scales at 812 pounds will be situated in a beautiful, natural setting where visitors can enjoy a picnic or take photographs,” said Ketelsen. “By being located in town limits, it’s hoped that the statue’s interest will also draw tourists to support local businesses.”
Duke was once the largest black bear to roam the Riding Mountain National Park (RMNP) and the municipality of Rossburn. Murdered by poachers, the large bear was found dead in 1992.
Duke will live on
In the minds and the hearts of Rossburn citizens, this famous bear will live on through the support of a local donor, the Town and Rural Municipality (R.M) of Rossburn, the Rossburn Subdivision Trail Association (RSTA), Parkland Tourism and a dedicated committee.
“The project ongoing since 2008 has been blessed with the generous support of local donors in Walter and Adele Mychasiw of Vista,” shared Ketelsen. “In memory of the Mychasiw and Trakalo families, they have been putting forth a substantial amount paying for the bronze statue itself. The RSTA – seeing the marketing potential being erected close to the TCT – has agreed to take on the coordination of the project, while the R.M. and Town will help cover the cost of set-up and landscaping.
It is felt the life size statue will be a gorgeous community attraction that will bring forth increased tourism activity and an attraction that will help to ensure the community’s sustainability not only by drawing attention to the black bear population – aka our great nature in the area - but also through a master piece done by the Ontario artist.
“Her roots to our region was an additional attraction for us to hire her, but her work speaks for herself,” shared Ketelsen. It can be viewed at www.abernethy.com.”
Abernethy’s sculptures have been placed municipally, regionally and nationally and she's been awarded numerous private commissions. Her first bronze commission was in 1996.
Duke, planned to be officially unveiled in conjunction with the Town of Rossburn’s Centennial Celebration – July 1-7, 2013 - is a special community project in Abernethy’s eyes.
As published in the Crossroads Newspaper