Library Statues

Statue Activity

Background Information - En Français

In 1912, Francis Rattenbury was commissioned to design two new wings of offices and a Legislative Library for the back of the Parliament Buildings. Rattenbury used the same stone and architectural style to ensure the additions fit seamlessly with his original design.

One of the most striking features of the Library is the 14 statues that grace the exterior walls. Standing nearly 3-metres tall, they were sculpted by Charles Marega, Bernard Carrier, and their team of stone carvers. Marega is also known for carving the two lions that stand guard over the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver.

Rattenbury asked the Provincial Librarian, E.O.S. Scholefield, to choose figures from British Columbia's past for the statues. Scholefield selected a number of explorers, colonial-era politicians, judges, and a Nuu-chah-nulth Chief.

Empty Alcove Activity

There are 16 alcoves around the outside of the Legislative Library, but only 14 statues were ever made.

For this activity, students may decide who, or what, should be carved to fill the two empty alcoves.

Here are a few questions that you may want to ask your students:

  • What do you notice about the people who were chosen?

  • Who is missing or not represented by these statues?

  • Why do we make statues of politicians and other well-known people?

  • What sort of process would we use to choose statues for the Parliament Buildings today?

  • Should we still make statues of well-known people?

There are a number of resources below, including colouring pages, biographies, an original letter, and lesson plans developed by past participants of the B.C. Teachers' Institute on Parliamentary Democracy.

Activities, Resources, and Lesson Plans

Empty alcove colouring sheets:

Letter from the Provincial Librarian, Mr. Scholefield, to the master carver, Mr. Marega - January 13, 1914:

Statue biographies:

Lesson plans:

Dr. Helmcken.jpg

Statue Alcove III.jpg