It’s safe to say White Rock’s newest resident is garnering a lot of attention.
Leaning casually against a bench in front of the White Rock Museum, he has added a dignified, yet casual, presence to the waterfront since last week.
Tall, in cuffed pants, he has a suitcase at his feet and a moustache some might say reminds them of actor Tom Selleck (or, perhaps, city manager Dan Bottrill, closer to home). His gaze is focused slightly to the west, yet he manages to look passersby in the eye – and they like it.
“Look at his eyes,” an enamoured Pauline Munro says, pausing Friday morning on her westward stroll of the promenade to gaze into the tall, glistening figure’s baby not-blues.
While it’s unclear if the gentleman’s thoughts are dwelling on the future, it is abundantly apparent that he is about history.
A bronze sculpture dubbed ‘Passenger,’ he was designed by Nelson-based artist Denis Kleine. Kleine was chosen in June to bring him to “life” to celebrate the history and people of the White Rock train station.
Council approved in May the spending of up to $80,000 from the city’s community public art capital project budget to have the piece made and installed – money that city officials confirmed this week was spent in full.
In requesting the funds, leisure services director Eric Stepura predicted such a sculpture would not only be a figurative representation of the history of the White Rock train station, but also “add to the artistic landscape of the city” and be a tourism draw.
If the response during the figure’s installation this week is any indication, the interest will exceed expectations.
Leon Gray, who works for the City of White Rock, said he had to time the final touches – such as painting the galvanized bolts that secure the bench to the concrete plaza black – for when there would be fewer waterfront visitors out and about, so as not to contend with a crowd.
“Everybody loves it,” he told Peace Arch News. “It’s a good thing.”
Munro and friends Ruth Christiansen, Barb Tole and Sheila Sanderson agreed.
“We’re quite pleased,” Munro said of the new arrival. “We just want to know his name.”
“It’s going to enhance our walk down here,” said Christiansen.
City spokesperson Shannon Levesque said an official unveiling of the sculpture, with Kleine in attendance, is set for Jan. 24 at 2 p.m.