Ottawa

Knitters yarn-bomb Gatineau's Jos Montferrand statue

One towering lumberjack of legend has had a makeover this winter.

It took a combined 500 hours of work to make the 5.5-metre charity scarf

Rocksane Forget, who works with the Association des Neurotraumatisés de l'Outaouais, was asked to find a way to improve folk hero Jos Montferrand's look, ultimately deciding to mobilize a group of knitters. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

One towering lumberjack of legend is getting a makeover this winter.

The frame of Jos Montferrand on Gatineau, Que.'s rue Montcalm was created for Mosaïcultures, a horticultural exhibition held in Jacques-Cartier Park in 2017. 

The sculpture had been set on fire in a controlled setting by an artist tasked with stripping it and restoring its beauty.

As a result, the tribute to the folk hero who steered logs down the Ottawa River in the early 1800s and inspired myths of his strength and fearlessness had seen better days. 

The sculpture of local lumber legend Jos Montferrand sported a face covering Jan. 13, 2021 before getting the scarf. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

"We needed to put some colour on this guy," said Rocksane Forget, who works with the Association des Neurotraumatisés de l'Outaouais, a support group for people with head injuries and strokes. 

Forget was tasked by the City of Gatineau with finding ways to freshen up Montferrand's look, ultimately deciding on mobilizing a group of knitters.

The scarf was garter stitched and crocheted piece-by-piece by knitters who are all members of the Association des Neurotraumatisés de l'Outaouais. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

The group worked separately from home with wool and a plan, creating a 5.5-metre yarn scarf. 

Kaitlin Brown, who helped create the rainbow-coloured neck attire, said each patch took about six to seven hours to make. 

Each knitter spent 120 hours on their respective sections, she said, resulting in about 500 hours of labour in total.

Jos Montferrand, sometimes called Grand Jos, felled trees and rolled logs down the Ottawa River in the early 1800s. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

While the knitters were unsure of the project at the outset, Brown said she's pleased with the final product, which they hope will raise awareness for their organization. 

"Having that colourful scarf on Jos is going to put a nice smile on everyone's face," Forget said.

With files from CBC Radio's In Town and Out

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