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‘It’s like a family member’: Filberg Heritage Park to say goodbye to well-loved sculpture

The time has come for a well-loved sculpture in Comox’s Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park to be retired after 35 years by the water.

The “NAIAD” sculpture can be found near the water at the park and was put there in 1988 by sculptor Michael Dennis from Denman Island. Over the years, it has become a fixture of the park and left many memories for visitors from near and far, according to executive director Linda Thomas.

“I think for everyone, it’s probably something you have a picture of your kids, or your family or yourself on it,” said Thomas. “I would say even for my own kids, we moved here in 2007, and I have pictures of them when they were little on that sculpture.

“It just looks so beautiful, and it looks so peaceful. It’s just kind of one of those wonderful things.”

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However, due to its age and exposure to the elements it has entered its final stage of life despite efforts to keep it as long as possible.

“There are cracks and crevices and of course we’ve done our due diligence to try and fix her over the years,” said Thomas. “Again, even with those fixes she is made of wood, there’s holes all the way through her and places where we’ve tried to make fixes where they’ve broken down over the years.

“It becomes a safety issue, and we know kids love to climb on her. We have a sign now that says, ‘please keep off.’ But at some point, we do need to remove her and retire her.”

After so long, Thomas adds it is sad to see the “NAIAD” go from the park, but they are looking forward to future projects.

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“It’s like a family member and you’ve watched visitors enjoy her for so many years and photos and memories they have and the stories they have about her,” said Thomas. “She’s a piece of our history and always will be.

“I love that we still have contact with the sculptor and he’s willing to come take a look at her and maybe take pieces of her and use them somewhere else.”

Thomas adds there are some possibilities for a new sculpture in the future, potentially with Michael Dennis. She adds it’s a decision that will not be made lightly.

“I think we would like to keep in mind that we are a heritage property,” said Thomas. “We want to have something is special, something that can hold up to the weather, something that kids can potentially have their photo by because that’s just something we’ve always had.”

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Heritage Week is coming up Feb. 18 to 26 at the park and it will feature live demonstrations from their dairy barn, open gift shop, lodge tours and other special events for families.

Michael Dennis installing the NAIAD in 1988. (Supplied by Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park)
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