Langley City’s historic wood statues are getting an overhaul.
Carved by Hope chainsaw sculptor Pete Ryan several years ago, they include two sculptures of a Hudson’s Bay trader and a Kwantlen First Nation chief who stand facing each other on Innes Corners plaza, near the corner of Fraser Highway and Glover Road.
Restoration expert and Hope Chainsaw Carving Competition organizer Victor Smith began working on the pair Wednesday, sanding off their aging protective coating to apply a fresh coat.
“We just want to rejuvenate them, add a little colour,” Smith said.
Smith, from the Communities in Bloom group that maintains dozens of wooden art pieces in Hope, knew the late Ryan, and said he considered it a privilege to be working on them.
“He [Ryan] was the pioneer of the art in this province.”
The Ryan statues at Innes corners were fir, not the usual red cedar, Smith explained.
“Fir has a life span,” he commented, requiring more maintenance than cedar.
Fortunately, he said, whoever handled the last restoration did a good job.
“He used some pretty good product, which is why they’re still around,” Smith commented.
“A lot of places wait until they’re done, and there’s nothing to save.”
He was also planning to work on the Ryan statue of a conductor across the street from Innes Corners, at the southwest corner of 204th Street and Fraser Highway.
City Director of Engineering, Parks and Environment Rick Bomhof said the restoration work has a budget of $15,000.
“We’re going to get as much done [this year] as we can” Bomhof told the Langley Advance Times.
“It’s been many years. Some of the statues were showing signs of disrepair and rotting.”
Ryan also created the statue of two men portaging a canoe, which stands in front of Langley City hall at the corner of 204th and Douglas Street, as well as an old-time car and driver located outside a car wash and oil change service on Fraser Highway.
As well, Ryan created a representation of a Langley farmer at Glover Road and Duncan Way, which stands where the City originally began on the famous Smugglers Trail which ran from Fort Langley to what was then known as Langley Prairie (now Langley City).
And he is also responsible for an image of Langley City’s first elected mayor Ernie Sendall, located in the park of same name, Sendall Gardens at 201A Street and 50th Avenue, which featured the mayor’s trademark heavy-framed glasses, what Ryan described as his “Roy Orbison” bust.
In 2020, someone pried off the metal plaques attached to the statues, which have since been given thin, lightweight aluminum replacements considered less likely to be targeted by metal thieves.
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