It was quite an undertaking Monday to move Daniel Cline’s Spirit of the Earth sculpture.
The fact the famous piece weighs nearly 11 tons may have had something to do with it. Crews took two and half hours to properly secure it, truck it over a block on a flatbed and then secure it again before a crane lowered it to its final resting place.
The sculpture was originally donated to the Chemainus community 20 years ago and sat at the corner of Chemainus Road and Victoria Street across from the Chemainus Theatre ever since.
The move to a new location in Heritage Square at Chemainus Road and Mill Street proved to be an enormous spectator sport around Chemainus. Crews with Gorosh Cranes and Westhaul Services Ltd. were enlisted to conduct the big move and had to do some improvising along the way due to low power lines, but pulled off a perfect plan for the relocation.
The dramatic part was lifting the giant sculpture by crane from the parking lot beside the Chemainus Theatre, over one tree and between two other trees for a perfect bulls eye landing on a cement pad in the square.
No one was more relieved when the move was completed seamlessly than Cline.
“I can breathe now,” he sighed. “Anxious moments, but it all went really well. This will be a much better spot for it.”
“It’s beautifully framed,” added wife Ingrid Cline of the way it fit in with other elements to the park.
The sculpture almost seemed to blend into the background at its previous site and the grounds around it weren’t kept up very well.
The move was requested by the Chemainus Festival of Murals Society for safety and aesthetic reasons and approved by the Chemainus Advisory Committee and the Municipality of North Cowichan. The Municipality paid $6,500 of the relocation cost and the Murals Society covered the rest.
Cline carved the 11-foot marble sculpture in 1999 with help from Ted Speirs and Marcus Carter of a mystic First Nations princess, her robe adorned with the wildlife from around Vancouver Island. An orca dives from her hair, an eagle soars interconnected with a salmon leaping upwards.
The upper half of the sculpture depicts the quiet calm of the Earth, while the lower portion depicts the world in action. The princess represents the Earth, the life-giver, the source of our livelihood.
The sculpture’s new home will allow visitors and local residents to appreciate the 360-degree carving at its best.