One of the original lion sculptures that sat on the Centre Street Bridge is to be restored and moved to Rotary Park, 100 years after it first stood on guard.
Beginning this week, the City of Calgary will move the lion to an indoor facility, where it will be repaired and conserved ready for unveiling in spring next year.
It will cost an estimated $400,000 to restore and move the lion, which is 12 feet long, five feet wide, eight feet high, and weighs 13 tons.
“Displaying one of the historic Centre Street Bridge lion sculptures in a public setting is a poignant tribute to our city’s past,” says Sarah Iley, city manager arts and culture in a release.
“The location in Rotary Park allows citizens an opportunity to appreciate the century-old lion sculpture in a new and accessible space where it can be viewed from the Centre Street Bridge, Memorial Drive and in Rotary Park itself.”
The original four concrete lions were installed on the bridge in 1917, and became well-known symbols of Calgary’s strength, integrity and independent character.
However, they were eventually removed in 1999 when major renovations of the bridge revealed the lions were in a serious state of disrepair.
One lion was restored and used to cast the four replacement lions which currently sit on the bridge. In 2000, it was moved to the entrance of the Municipal Building.
The other three lions were deemed too fragile to move and remained in outdoor storage due to lack of funding for repairs.