The Bandstand

The Bandstand and Sir William Young’s six urns.

There were once three goddesses who watched over the elegant Halifax Public Gardens, a gift from the estate of chief justice Sir William Young.  Born in the year 1799 in Falkirk, Scotland, a city situated at the junction of the Forth and Clyde Canal in the Scottish Lowlands, Sir William Young immigrated  to Nova Scotia with his family in 1814 and went on to become the Premier of Nova Scotia in 1854.  He lived during the Romantic Period when there was a increasing awareness of ancient Greece and Rome, which was reflected in his private garden.

Flora, goddess of flowers, spring and youth,

Flora, goddess of flowers, spring and youth.

On his passing in 1887, three goddesses and six urns were given to the Halifax Public Gardens.  The three goddesses left Sir William Young’s estate to take their place along the Petit Allée.  First there was Flora, the Sabine-derived goddess of flowers, spring and youth.  Next came Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, the moon, nature, woodland and wild animals.  Last came Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, grain crops, and fertility. These statues embodied the quintessential characteristics of the Victorian age.


Ceres, goddess of agriculture, grain crops and fertility.

Alas, in March 2012, Diana was the victim of vandalism, knocked to the ground by unknown persons.  An outcry went throughout Halifax for Diana was a 138-year-old Haligonian cultural icon.  Year after year, families would gather around Diana to take wedding and graduation photos.  Memories were built under her gentle gaze.  Now, the garden is in the keep of Ceres and Flora.

Our Memories of Diana 2003

2003 –  Our Memories of Diana, goddess of the hunt, the moon, nature, woodland and wild animals.

All is not lost!  There are whispers that she is merely resting, waiting to be placed inside a public building.  Myths have survived centuries; they do not stay silent for long.  They live in our music, poetry, dance and literature.  And especially in our gardens…

21 thoughts on “Three Goddesses & A Garden

  1. What can I say but to emphasize their beauty in magnificent surroundings. One can but imagine the Three Goddesses & A Garden’s inspiration being of Greek mythology that created The Three Graces, goddesses of such things as charm, beauty, and creativity. In Roman mythology they were known as the Gratiae. Mythology, inspiration to every aspect art since man first carved his story on stone.
    Nice to see you in the picture, Rebecca. The look of the young man behind the shades and the cap, cannot not hide the family facial features…

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    • Thank you, Jean-Jacques. What I enjoy most about looking into the history of a place or event is the people who made it happen. For example, Sir William Young had an remarkable history. He was a Reformer (or Liberal in today’s language), and a lawyer who defended a journalist accused of libel. He wanted to be the first Premier of Nova Scotia, but that went to a fellow Reformer by the name of James Boyle Uniacke. Sir William did get the Premiership on the second round. He ended his career as a Chief Justice. I smiled when I read that he was known to place cushions on his chair to ensure that he could look down over his fellow justices.

      Thank you for your comments on our “family photo.” The best part of photography is that it stops time. Diana may no longer reside with her sister goddesses. But for me, she will always be there. (And I will always look that young!!) 🙂 🙂 :).

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  2. How lovely the gardens are and the vandalism is a crying shame. Lovely photo of the two of you! My grandfather’s family settled in Nova Scotia when he was 4 years old, so the place holds a special place in my heart. Cheers to you Rebecca & lovely post my friend~

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  3. I almost shed a tear when I read that Diana was vandalized. One can only imagine why anyone would do such an evil thing. But, strange things do happen, perhaps she is only sleeping and will appear one day again in her rightly place in this beautiful garden. What a beautiful bandstand–at least this is what we called them when we were children. Thank you, Sir William Young.

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    • The whole of Halifax was in an uproar when this happened. I understand that Diana will never return to the garden, but plans are being made for her re-emergence. You would be interested to know that the urns were recast from the originals and placed back in the garden in 2014. Just after our visit in 2003, Hurricane did enormous damage to the gardens. This devastation was the catalyst that brought people together to restore the garden to its former glory. From what I read, the Public Gardens foundation raised $1 million dollars within 48 hours. The Haligonians are very proud of this special place.

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    • So glad you like the gate – I do have a photo of the entire gate that I will post – stay tuned. Yes that is my son! This was the trip that changed the course of his life for he met a bagpiper at the Halifax citadel. One conversation, one kind word from a young man, only a few years older. Now, my son is a bagpiper within the Simon Fraser Pipe band organization. You never know what awaits us around the next corner. Unfortunately, they never caught the vandals, but there is talk about Diana’s return. I’m going to follow-up on this story. Thank you for stopping by – very much appreciated!

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  4. How sad that Diana was vandalized. It’s a statement on the trampling of beauty through the careless hands of minds that have not been brought up to appreciate and respect that what we do to nature, to art, etc. we do to ourselves. I hope she does revive and gain her rightly place safely. I love the photo. You look lovely, like the statues. ❤


    • You are always such a wonderful encouragement, Paulette. I am following up on the progress of Diana and will be contacting people in Halifax to see if anything has come to pass. I will keep you posted. I was reading quotes by the Dalai Lama the other day and one stood our for me, “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at lease don’t hurt them.” What is significant to me is that the act of hurting others counteracts all of what is meant for us in this existence; that is to be happy. When people set out to trample beauty, they are in the same breath, trampling on themselves. Hugs coming your way…


  5. Beautiful sights and great to learn of the history in your intriguing post, R! Sad about the vandalism 😦 I don’t understand when people take such lovely creations and damage them on purpose.. Instead we choose to share light and love xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was thinking of you and Aquileana when I wrote this post on mythology. I agree wholeheartedly – choosing to share light and love creates so many wonderful possibilities. Your thoughts remind me of J.R.R. Tolkien’s quote “May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”


    • A brilliant quote – I have placed this on a sticky note on my computer. I am delighted to see your comments. Thank you for stopping by! I always remember that Magic Carpet ride! Hugs coming your way.


      • Excellent post and I believe that Young got it right when he chose these three goddesses. Did You know that Flora was also known as Chloris among ancient Greeks?. I learned that after I posted about Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” on my blog… Sending much love 💛🌟🌞

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      • Thank you, Aquileana for inspiring me to dig deeper into how mythology influences of daily lives. We may believe that our modern perspective relegates ancient myths and beliefs to the realm of make-believe. The more I research the narratives, the more I realize that myths are embedded into our DNA. I look forward to every one of your detailed posts. Sending hugs and love back your way. I heard you may be on vacation. Safe travels…

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    • I am following this story with great interest. The last mention of Diana in the papers was in 2012. At that time, the Halifax Regional Municipality was to review the options and the “art policy” as to where Diana should be placed. Sometimes these decisions and discussions take a considerable amount of time, especially since Diana is a beloved symbol. The best part is that she can be “resurrected.” Halifax winters can be extreme, so I can see why they want her more protected. Will keep you posted!


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