Public Art in Kelowna: Leap of Faith + Leaf Bench

Leap of Faith

Manhattan Drive Entrance

It’s another double header of a post as we look at Leap of Faith and Leaf Bench on the Public Art in Kelowna tour.  Stop #2, Leap of Faith and stop #4, Leaf Bench are just a few metres from each other on the Brandt’s Creek Walkway that connects Manhattan Drive and Sunset Drive.

I had to work to find this art.  If you’re coming from the beach, walk across Sunset, and pick up the walkway there.  I came at it from the other end, the 1000 block of Manhattan Drive, across the road from the Dockside Marine warehouse.  Leaf of Faith and Leaf Bench are both closer to that end of the path.

Leap of Faith is a forged steel heron which stands in the creek.  Because it stands in the creek, I didn’t get close enough to measure it, but it appears to be life sized.  The work, by local artist Doug Alcock, was commissioned by Canada Lands company and donated to the City of Kelowna in 2001.  It was part of the general creek cleanup and revitalization.  It’s a wonderful sculpture, detailed and lifelike.  Had I not known I was looking for a sculpture, I would have had to look twice to see if it was a real heron.

Nearby is Leaf Bench, a Brazilian cherrywood bench shaped like a leaf.  It was also commissioned and donated by Canada Lands company in 2001, and is intended to provide a vantage point for viewing Leap of Faith.  When I was there taking pictures, someone sleeping on the bench kept me from viewing Leap of Faith from the bench.  But there were really good views of the bench from behind the heron, so I expect it actually is a good vantage point.

Part of this project for me is finding the public art, and part of it is finding nice places and things around the art.  Brandt’s Creek Walkway is an interesting little path.  Bordered by condos on one side and within sight of the railroad and factories on the other, the pathway gets a good amount of cycle traffic.  Pay attention when you walk.  Dogs are allowed on leash, and there are bag dispensers at both entrances and a trash can in the middle.

It’s a short walk from one end to the other, but on a beautiful day it’s great to sit on the Leaf Bench or on a regular bench and watch the wildlife or read.  There are interpretive signs on several platforms that overlook the creek.   I took these pictures on Labour Day 2011.  It was 28C/82F and the sun was shining.  I saw many fish, and on other visits I’ve seen a muskrat.

You never know what you’ll see.  Besides the wildlife, I saw two guys washing windows on a highrise, a job I know I could never do, and a guy taking pictures of a big buck on the other side of the creek.  And after shooting the steel heron, I came out the other end of the path at Sunset Drive, and saw an actual heron, who was happy to pose for us.

More about Public Art in Kelowna here.  You can grab a PDF with a list and a map at that same link.  Click on “Public Art” in the “What’s here” box on the right side of this page to see all the Public Art posts on the blog.  I hope eventually to blog about all 59 sites.

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