Tag Archives: Leo Mol Tree Children

The Qualico Family Centre- Assiniboine Park

Today I visited the Qualico Family Centre in Assiniboine Park. The $6 million, 10,000 square foot facility opened In November. 

It was a perfect winter day so I walked over to the Family Centre after Dave dropped me off at the Pavilion Gallery which features the work of three prominent Manitoba artists Ivan Eyre, Clarence Tillenius, and Walter J. Phillips.

The air was crisp, the sun warm and the sky clear blue. The squirrels were out in force enjoying the good weather. 

Nestled in a grove of oak and pine trees the Qualico Centre skirts the park’s duck pond, which serves as a skating rink in winter. The roof of the centre is 100% green– planted with all kinds of prairie grasses. 

Walking into the front door of the centre you are greeted by this cozy sitting area around a fireplace. The fireplace is two-sided, so that the back of it is exposed on the outdoor patio which is open to visitors in the summer. 

A miniature replica of Leo Mol’s sculpture Tree Children sits atop the fireplace. In November I wrote a post about the life-size version of this sculpture located just outside the Richardson Building at the corner of Portage and Main. Perhaps the sculpture has been placed in the centre to encourage people to visit the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden which is also located in Assiniboine Park. 

There are windows everywhere in the centre that bring the ‘outside in’. This also allows the sunlight to help warm the building in winter. The trees all around the centre help keep it cool in summer. 

The Acorn Activity Area is a comfortably furnished sunny room where nature activities for all ages are offered on a regular basis. Just outside this nature classroom are several paintings by Ivan Eyre. Perhaps this is to entice people to visit the Pavilion Gallery which is also in the park and contains many more of Eyre’s paintings.

There isn’t really a table in the restaurant that doesn’t offer a great view of the outdoors. The wood for the massive beams that form the ceiling came from reclaimed dead elm trees. 

There’s a nice variety of soups,salads, sandwiches, burgers, sushi and breakfast items on the menu.

I was there to have lunch with three friends I’ve been getting together with regularly since coming home from Hong Kong. We’ve been trying to come up with a name for ourselves. My friend Esther suggested today we call ourselves the T-4’s since there are four of us and at one time we were teaching colleagues. We had different things from the menu –sandwiches, wraps, salads and two kinds of desserts. We all enjoyed our food. 

As we came out of the Qualico Centre we noticed many of the front patio stones were engraved. People had dedicated stones in memory of friends and family members. It was interesting to read the various inscriptions. 

After lunch we went for a walk in the park. A perfect ending to a lovely get together with friends.

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Finding My Inner Artist

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Filed under Food, Nature, Restaurants, T-4s, Winnipeg

Tree Children

tree children leo molTree Children is another sculpture within two blocks of my home. It stands just in front of the Richardson Building at the corner of Portage and Main and was installed in 2002.  It was created by Leo Mol, who also crafted the James Bond– William Stephenson statue I wrote about.  I don’t know if kids still climb trees. Maybe it is not considered safe anymore, but this statue shows the adventure of tree climbing.  The four children here are each unique and seem to display a different personality. The way Mol has sculpted them they really could be boys or girls.  The texture of the sculpture is almost ‘clay-like’.  Leo Mol’s father was a potter and when Leo was a child living in Ukraine his first art experiences were working in clay with his Dad. 

boy in crotch of treeThis child seems to be in charge and is perched front and center in the main crook of the tree. It looks like it is up to him to decide who gets to play on the tree or not.  

old wise face tree children leo molAlthough the sculpture is called Tree Children, I think the faces of the characters look wise beyond their years and could just as easily belong to adults as well as children.  I see this fellow as being the narrator and organizer of the group’s imaginary play on the tree. 

boy with hand on heart leo mol tree childrenThis child looks a little younger than the others and I think is hesitant about climbing the tree.  She/he may be asking permission first to climb aboard, but may also need some encouragement to swing up into the branches and join the others.  One hand is pointing at the child’s chest as if she’s saying, “Me? You want me to climb the tree?”

girl in sweater leo mol tree childrenThis child is the thoughtful one.  She’s up high, looking down, perhaps with a little trepidation, hanging onto the limbs with both hands and sitting, not standing.  Her lone spot up on the high limb gives her a little solitude and a place to think. She has climbed up to her perch carefully and likes it, but she won’t be jumping down out of the tree. She’ll crawl down cautiously. 

look at me tree children leo molThis is the brave daring child, hanging on by one hand only, saying “Look at me.”  

children talking leo mol tree childrenI am struck by the fact that none of the children in the sculpture are smiling. They all look rather serious in fact. Was Leo Mol trying to say something about childhood–that children are really just ‘mini-adults’, that even while tree climbing they are serious and thinking about life? 

leo mol in richardson square winnipeg tre childrenIt is interesting that this sculpture is in the heart of downtown Winnipeg where the only trees aren’t really ones you could climb, and in a place where you expect to see traffic, business people, and stores but not children playing.  

What next? I’d be interested in knowing why the Richardsons chose to put this particular sculpture in front of their building. I’d also be curious to find out what children think about this sculpture. 

There are two other sculptures in the Richardson Plaza by Manitoba artists. You can read about those sculptures in these blog posts………

Seal River Crossing

North Watch

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