Sculptor creating bust of Mary Ann Shadd says it's time to recognize women in Windsor

Donna Mayne has been working on a bust of a woman who figures prominently in local black history — Mary Ann Shadd. The sculptor hopes to eventually create a life-sized figure in bronze.

Only three public places are named for Windsor according to Philippa Von Ziegenweidt

Donna Mayne said she came to admire Mary Ann Shadd a few years ago while she painted a picture of her on the mural at the corner of Wyandotte and McDougall Streets. (Tony Doucette/CBC)

A Windsor sculptor says it's time for more women to be featured prominently in Windsor's public places.

Donna Mayne has been working on a bust of a woman who figures prominently in local black history — Mary Ann Shadd.

"I felt it was time to memorialize somebody who had such an impact on Windsor and Canada as a whole," she explained.

The sculptor came to admire Shadd a few years ago when she painted a picture of her on the mural at the corner of Wyandotte and McDougall Streets and, by coincidence, was working on her likeness when a debate erupted about the representation of women in Windsor.

In May Philippa Von Ziegenweidt did an inventory of all the public places named for women and found only three. She's created a map with hopes of highlighting the problem and showing places where more women could be recognized. 

Mayne's work was already underway when Von Ziegwenweidt made her pitch to the city, but she said Shadd hasn't received enough attention given all that she accomplished.

The anti-slavery activist lived in Windsor in the early 1850s, and published a newspaper that encouraged freed American slaves to move to Canada. 

"It gave them kind of a blueprint in how to come, how to settle here, what to do, who to contact and what was available for them here, and it also spoke about Canadian ideals, you know, what we consider our Canadian ideals now, she kind of nurtured then," she explained.

Sculptor hopes to create full figure

Mayne, who received a $2,500 grant from the heritage committee to complete the work, said those values include equality and education for all.

The current plan only calls for a bust to be completed, but Mayne said her hope is to gather support for a life-sized sculpture in bronze.

"As a woman I feel very inspired by the fact that that here's somebody that against all odds was able to achieve all she did," she said. "I'd like to see her stepping forward into a wind to represent the forces she was against."