New Brunswick

R.B. Bennett statue on its way to Ottawa

The eight foot tall bronze statue of R.B. Bennett is on its way to Ottawa with the hope that it will stand among the bronze statues of other Canadian leaders.

Artist Robin Hanson created statue to honour only prime minister from New Brunswick

Artist Robin Hanson made the statue, and designed R.B. Bennett to be standing in the House of Commons, hammering a point home. (CBC News)

It's a larger-than-life statue for a larger-than-life man from Hopewell Hill New Brunswick.

That's the image local artist Robin Hanson wanted to depict when he crafted the statue R.B. Bennett, who was Canada's eleventh prime minister.

"He was a great orator, so here he is standing in the House of Commons hammering that point home," said Hanson. 

Hanson and a handful of private sponsors took on the task of creating a statue of Bennett as a passion project. Now, the eight foot tall bronze statue s on its way to Ottawa with the hope that it will stand among the bronze statues of other Canadian leaders.

The idea was pioneered by retired Senator Noel Kinsella who felt so strongly that Bennett be represented on Parliament Hill he brought it up in his retirement speech. 
R.B. Bennett was prime minister from 1930 to 1935. (National Archives of Canada/Canadian Press)

Kinsella was pleased to see his idea come to life. 

"I was amazed by the details. If you look at the buttons on his jacket and the crease in his trousers, it's incredible how an artist can do this, and do this in bronze," said Kinsella.

Bennett served one term as prime minister from 1930-1935 while Canada was in the depths of the Great Depression. Voters blamed him for not doing enough to stop the bad economic times. He lost the 1935 election in a landslide and a generation of Canadians would associate him with the worst of times.

Hanson wanted to depict Bennett as a visionary leader, contrary to the image some hold of the man who failed to stabilize the nation at the time. 
This statue of R.B. Bennett is being shipped to Ottawa, in the hopes that it will take its place among the statues of Canada's leaders. (CBC News)

"He was Prime minister in the Dirty '30s. You couldn't have picked a worse time. Every leader of every nation was the thumbs down," said Hanson. 

Hanson depicted him in a tuxedo. Despite a rocky term in the Depression, it is said Bennett always dressed impeccably. Bennett was the founder of Canadian institutions such as the CBC and the Bank of Canada.

He's off to a temporary storage facility in Ottawa until it can be decided upon which plot he'll be standing. There has been no word on how long that process will take, but Kinsella hopes he'll be facing eastward, toward New Brunswick.