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.
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.
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.
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…