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Snipe hunting brothers reunited in Chemainus (and it feels so good)

Ten long years of fundraising leads to replacement of bronze figure in signature downtown artpiece
Reunited and it feels so good, Stefan and Josh are back together again. (Photo by Cim MacDonald)

Brothers Josh and Stefan are back together after a long separation.

Glenn Spicer designed and cast the original statues for the In Search of Snipes exhibit, located in Heritage Square, in 1986. The original Stefan was heavily damaged in 2009 by a vehicle, leaving Josh to go solo ever since.

“It was in pieces,” said Tom Andrews, president of the Chemainus Festival of Murals Society that oversees it as part of the mural project. “We had it removed and taken to Glenn’s studio in Maple Bay.

“Since 2010, we’ve been trying to raise money. We went through the process and we had to start from scratch.”

It’s not easy or cheap to replace a heavy bronze statue weighing 260 pounds.

Eventually, there was enough money to complete the re-creation of Stefan with contributions from the Chemainus Monetary Foundation, Municipality of North Cowichan, First West Credit Union, Chemainus Business Improvement Association and Coastal Community Credit Union.

Once the funds were in place, Spicer started the long re-creation process. He was no longer in possession of the original life-size mold but had a maquette.

A new maquette was made and, long story short, that set a series of steps in motion that included casting by Burton Bronze Foundry of Salt Spring Island.

“That took about four months by the time we delivered it to them,” noted Andrews.

Eventually, Spicer went to Salt Spring to do some fine-tuning of the features and the foundry used that for its final mold. It was finished with a patina.

After 10 years of fundraising and determination, the beautiful bronze statue of Stefan was installed in Heritage Square on Sunday. It had been stored in the Rotary Club of Chemainus bunker while the site was prepped.

Chemainus sculptor Daniel Cline brought his truck with a crane to lift it into place. Dan Dares and Andrews fixed up the base, made the adjustments and the new Stefan officially returned home.

“Now, Josh, the other fellow, he is a green colour,” noted Andrews. “We’re going to try to stain him the same colour as the other statue.”

Stefan was previously holding a lamp and is still in need of a replacement.

“We’re thankful for the supporters and the donors that helped us make it happen,” said Andrews.

Related: In Search of Snipes

As the In Search of Snipes story goes, from the Festival of Murals website, “on a moonlit summer’s night in 1913, two strangers found their way into Chemainus. While socializing with the locals, they were told of elusive snipes hiding in the forest and that this would be a perfect night to catch them. The strangers were shown the secret place in the woods and instructed to hold a lit lantern in front of an open sack into which the locals, acting as beaters, would drive the snipe.

“The townsfolk then stole back to the village. After hours of waiting, the boys realized they had been innocent victims of a bit of mischief and they too returned to the village to join the others and share a good laugh.”

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Daniel Cline’s crane lifts the reburbished Stefan statue back into place. (Photo by Cim MacDonald)
Danny Dares and Tom Andrews go wading to put Stefan back into the In Search of Snipes exhibit. (Photo by Cim MacDonald)
Chemainus Festival of Murals Society folks celebrate the successful replacement of the Stefan statue at Heritage Square. (Photo by Cim MacDonald)
Festival of Murals Society president Tom Andrews gives the new Stefan statue a fist pump once he’s in place. Stefan will eventually be holding a new lantern with that hand. (Photo by Cim MacDonald)

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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