Marcel Gosselin’s PHARE OUEST (FAR WEST) is integrated into the Belvédère Saint-Boniface, a promenade-style walkway suspended in the river forest canopy off the Taché Promenade between Provencher Boulevard and Despins Street. This lighthouse-reminiscent structure is underpinned by concepts of coming together, spirituality, refuge, and solace.
The artist was inspired by the story of the arrival of Sisters Valade, Lagrave, Coutlee and Lafrance of the order of the Grey Nuns of Montreal, via canoe, after a fifty-eight-day journey in 1844. The light within the sculpture recalls how, coming upon the St. Boniface area at 1:00am, the Nuns were guided to the shore of the Red River by Bishop Provencher and his lantern. The floating plates forming the top of the sculpture represent the eight hands of these Nuns coming together and being instrumental in founding, preserving, and protecting the educational, cultural and social service institutions of Saint Boniface. These Franco-Manitoban institutions, represented by the triangular windowed obelisk, rise upward and taper from the base to a vanishing point in the sky.
The Grey Nuns of Manitoba played an important role in establishing societal structures of care and education in the province. We acknowledge that these nation-building activities are part of a colonial project that has had devastating impacts on Indigenous peoples and cultures.
In the Media:
- Canstar Community News, March 25, 2019: A thing of beauty: Longtime St. Boniface resident embraces Tache Promenade revitalization
- CBC News, posted January 5, 2019: St. Boniface walkway along the Red River now open to the public