Have you noticed all the campus monuments?

Posted on Monday, October 16, 2017

The University of Ottawa's captivating history is told in part by its monuments all over campus. Take some time to stop and have a closer look.

By Johanne Adam, in collaboration with Michel Prévost, University of Ottawa Chief Archivist.

Bust of St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas holding a book.

This sculpture by artist Robert Ulmann in the Simard Hall lobby is made of bronze and rests on a marble base. It also holds a time capsule containing messages written by members of the uottawa community in 2015 for the students of 2114. It was unveiled in 1957 and has been witness to numerous events, among which the peace conference given by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1969 and orchestrated by former uOttawa president Allan Rock who was a student leader at the time.

Statue of Joseph-Henri Tabaret

Statue of J. H. Tabaret.

Unveiled in 1889, this bronze statue on a marble base stands in front of Tabaret Hall, right near the Grande Allée. The work honours Father Tabaret, considered the builder of the University of Ottawa. Parisian sculptor A. Verrebout produced this, the oldest monument on campus

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario plaque

Royal blue plaque with a golden edge bearing the Ontario coat of arms.

Located a few metres from the statue of Father Tabaret, this plaque was presented to the University in 1966 by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario (now the Ontario Heritage Trust) to designate the University of Ottawa as a provincial historical site.

University coat of arms

Sculpture of the University of Ottawa coat of arms placed under the gable of Tabaret Hall.

A group of alumni from the class of 1962–1963 donated this work depicting the University coat of arms. It was unveiled September 25, 1998, to mark the 150th anniversary of our university. The date coincided with celebrations to mark the Journée des Franco-Ontariens.

The sculpture, by artist Bruce Garner, is made of polymer. A work in stone could not have been hung from the Tabaret Hall gable, as it would have been too heavy.

The work depicts two horses representing the Gee-Gees, as well as the University’s motto in Latin, Deus scientiarum dominus est (God is the Lord of the Sciences).

Félix Leclerc commemorative sculpture

Grey metal statue placed in a lawn of juniper.

This sculpture was created in honour of the great Quebec poet, singer and songwriter Félix Leclerc. Few people know that Leclerc wished to become an Oblate, and he studied here on campus, at the Juniorat du Sacré-Cœur des Oblats de Marie Immaculée. He changed his mind at some point, though, and did not complete his studies. Leclerc did return to the University in the 1930s, in the middle of the Great Depression. However, as his family did not have the means to pay his tuition, he had to leave school.

This work by artist Michel Goulet was donated by a group of alumni from the class of 1962–1963, in collaboration with the Fondation Félix-Leclerc. It was unveiled September 21, 2008, during Alumni Week, with the singer’s daughter, Nathalie Leclerc, present.

The piece depicts the Ile d’Orléans bridge joining Ile d’Orléans to the University of Ottawa on a globe. A few metres away, a chair features a poem by Félix Leclerc

Monument de la Francophonie

Pergola shaped in a quarter circle integrating information panels and concrete seats.

Inaugurated September 25, 2013, the Journée des Franco-Ontariens, this monument is a reminder of the strong presence of the francophone community on campus. 

The monument, located along the Grande-Allée, opens onto a large space with considerable seating, making it a genuine meeting place. A series of panels tells the story of the University and its links to the francophone community. 

The use of squared timber in the piece serves as a reminder of the importance of forestry to the region in the 19th century, while the use of granite and stainless steel alludes to the mining industry and the plants highlight the importance of agriculture.

The monument was designed by landscape architect John Wright, under the supervision of Claudio Brun del Re, chief architect, University of Ottawa campus development.

Old University of Ottawa coat of arms

Low relief sculpture stained with verdigris and surrounded with red vine leaves.

This example of the old University coat of arms was placed above the main entrance to Hagen Hall in 1931 when the building was constructed.

Its date of creation is unknown but it is thought to have been made around 1882 by an Oblate father.

The bees refer to students working with great fervour. Other elements represent the origins of communities present in the region at the time: the fleur-de-lys for the French, the roses for the English, the ivy and harp for the Irish and the thistle for the Scots.  The cross of the Oblate Fathers can be seen, as well as the University motto.

Oblate Fathers coat of arms

White plaster coat of arms.

This coat of arms was installed above the entrance to what is now Huguette Labelle Hall in 1931, when the room, which housed the gym, the chapel and the Tabaret Hall dorm, was inaugurated. It features the Oblate cross as well as the Oblate Fathers’ motto, L.J.C. & M.I. (Louer Jésus Christ et Marie Immaculée).

Relic from the residence of John Robert O’Brien

White column installed near a door.

This Doric column in the entrance of Hamelin Hall is a relic from the residence of Dr. John Robert O’Brien. The house was demolished in 1995 to allow for the construction of what is now Hamelin. The column, a testament to Sandy Hill’s rich built heritage, was preserved for integration in the building.

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