By David F. Rooney
Rob Buchanan and Rob Maraun are cutting a memorial to the past, for the future, today.
It’s a work of art and the two men are having a fine time building the separate parts of the Rogers Pass Memory Garden from quarter-inch steel plate, as you can see in the photo feature below.
The garden, which has been designed by Parks Canada designer Rob Buchanan, permanently commemorates the workers killed in the 1910 Avalanche and will be a unveiled in the Pass in August. There will be six panels in the garden. Five bear designs cut into steel plate to honour the railway pathfinders, the railway builders, the Trans-Canada Highway builders, the TCH keepers who control winter avalanches and the 1910 disaster itself. A sixth panel will be made is granite and will bear the names of the victims of the 1910 avalanche. The panels will be hung from timbers and will surround a brass bell from a steam engine on a rock pedestal. These different elements will be posed in a pea-gravel garden. Visitors to the garden will be encouraged to ring the bell and rake the sand.
“The interaction of ringing the bell and raking the gravel of the garden into patterns will create a sense of personal connection and ownership to the site,” Buchanan said in his artist’s statement about the project. “Three stone benches provide resting places for extended visits of contemplatio and observation.”
For Maraun, owner of Mount Begbie Machine Works, this is yet another opportunity to work with an artist.
“You can make fantastic art with steel,” he said.
After seeing the photos below you’ll likely agree: