The Lady by Sculptor Myfanwy MacLeod

The Lady stands at the corner of Lonsdale and 13th in the heart of North Vancouver.

The Lady by Sculptor, Myfanwy MacLeod

Whenever I pass by this magnificent creature in bronze, I pause for a few minutes to read the plaque at her feet and say a few words of greeting. I mirror her gaze towards the Burrard Inlet and allow my thoughts to linger in the past when camels lived in our Province. My visits are a tradition that I have kept ever since The Lady’s first appearance in 2017.

Camels once traversed the Cariboo, an intermontane region of British Columbia, centered on a plateau stretching from Fraser Canyon to the Cariboo Mountains. The camels first arrived in May 1862 in response to the Gold Rush. They came from the ancient country of Bactria that was positioned between the mountains of the Hindu Kush and the Amu Dary in what is now a part of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Christmas with The Lady by Sculptor, Myfanwy MacLeod

At two meters in height, The Lady, created by Vancouver-based sculptor, Myfanwy MacLeod, pays respect to the last known surviving captive camel in British Columbia who passed in 1896. She used artistic license when creating The Lady as a dromedary, or one humped camel, while the original camels were two-humped.

Christmas with The Lady by Sculptor, Myfanwy MacLeod

The plaque is an enlarged bronze replica of the actual advertisement that ran in the March 1, 1862 edition of the local British Colonist newspaper, announcing the sale of twenty-five camels at low prices, to use as pack animals on the Gold Rush routes. Expectations were high for success of this initiative, but history has recorded that the camels were unsuitable for our geography. They were put out to pasture and some were able to escape into the wilds.

The Lady by Sculptor, Myfanwy MacLeod

Published by Rebecca Budd

Lifestyle Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

42 thoughts on “The Lady by Sculptor Myfanwy MacLeod

  1. Camels in B.C.? Who knew! What a delightful post, photos and narrative. Your video feels loving and engaging, Rebecca. I always look forward to your Sunday evening installments!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am delighted that you joined The Lady and me in North Vancouver. Many thanks for your lovely comments about my Sunday evening posts. Camels were part of our history although I imagine that very few knew (including me) about it until The Lady appeared on the corner of Lonsdale and 13th . There was controversy surrounding the sculpture – the authenticity of the one-hump instead of two variety. What I especially appreciate about Myfanwy MacLeod is her brilliant ability to tell the story long after the narrative has been forgotten.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re welcome, Rebecca. I like the artistic license taken with one hump vs two. Life is too short to be pedantic. And I bet that “misrepresentation” may have garnered even more attention for the statue and artist.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I had no idea either until The Lady appeared on the corner of Lonsdale and 13th. I knew that camels had been brought to areas of Nevada. But, I would never have thought that bringing camels to our rocky and mountainous regions would be considered a prudent and wise decision. Myfanwy MacLeod paid homage to the brave camels that were taken from their homeland and brought to a place that was inhospitable. Every time I pass by The Lady, I am reminded that we share our world with remarkable and honourable creatures.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. It does, Mary Jo! Myfanwy MacLeod has a marvelous way of telling stories through her sculptures. I must take photos of her amazing Sparrows at Olympic Village. There are two of them, both standing 18 feet tall. This was part of her “artist statement”

      “My work for the Olympic Village tries to infuse the ordinary and commonplace sparrow with a touch of the ridiculous and the sublime. The Birds is a pair of sparrows (male and a female) that, through their large scale– they stand 18 feet tall (5.5 metres) – inverts the normal relationship existing between these typically small birds and the human population.”

      The Lady was not with out controversy, but Myfanwy MacLeod stood firm on her decisions. And now, The Lady, is very much a part of a vibrant city centre as demonstrated by the Christmas attire bestowed on her from someone from the community.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. That was so interesting, Rebecca; it had me rushing to google!
    Aha, I thought as I read the camel came from the ancient country of Bactria. That must be the origin of the name ‘Bactrian Camel’. But wait – the Bactrian camel has two humps, I thought. Back to google!
    Google said – The Dromedary camel, or Arabian camel has one hump.
    Ahhhhh… Then I read that Myfanwy MacLeod (what a fabulous name) had used poetic license when creating the sculpture. And what a gorgeous creature she created. It’s smile is gorgeous! Like you, I too would stand and admire.
    xoxoxo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am thrilled that you met up with My Lady and me, Carolyn. I went back to my first days of blogging and found this post about Myfanwy MacLeod’s birds in Olympic Village. They have had a update from this photo and are still as awe-inspiring as they were in 2012:

      https://ladybudd.com/2012/05/19/the-birds-by-myfanwy-macleod/

      This is from her artist’s statement:

      “The Birds reminds us of our past, but it aspires to challenge the future. It is my hope that the work stimulates understanding that will lead to a greater sense of shared responsibility and caring.” Myfanwy MacLeod, 2009

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I am delighted that you joined me at the corner of Lonsdale and 13th, one of the major corners in North Vancouver. Myfanwy MacLeod is truly remarkable. I understand the My Lady project was a 2-year undertaking.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Shey – I have always wondered if humans are the most advanced creature to walk this earth. I am certain that camels never once thought about bringing humans to their side of the world. I love artists for their tell the stories we may not want to hear.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well. How fascinating. I didn’t know anything about this. Much as I loved what I saw of BC, I don’t think I’d have approved one bit if I were a camel. No wonder they’ve thrown in the towel.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree, Margaret. These are the animals/wild life that thrive in B.C. – beavers, Canada Geese, Coyotes, Black Bears, Cougars and Great Blue Heron. I didn’t see one mention of camels. If I were a camel, I would stay where the sun shines upon soft sand.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. They had no choice, poor things. They were probably sold some tale about the fresh, wide open spaces, the boundless ocean lapping at the shores where ancient forests and stunning mountains lay before them …

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I am delighted that you joined The Lady and me on the corner of Lonsdale & 13th, Cynthia! I remember when I first saw her – so out of place in a British Columbia city. I was fascinated and curious. What was the story? I had no idea that camels had been brought to our side of the world. I continue to learn….

      Liked by 2 people

  4. It Is a fantastic sculpture and looks so alive! That is also a surprise to see a camel in Vancouver. Thank you, dear Rebecca, for this unexpected introduction, and I am glad that some of the camels could flee. 😉🥰🙏💖

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am glad some of them escaped, Alaedin, What I most appreciate about creative endeavour is the ability to tell a story that is mostly forgotten. The Lady continues to view the Pacific and remember…. Many thanks for your visit and comments.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks, Deborah, for your visit and comments. The camels did not adapt well to our rocky environment. Their feet were meant to walk on sand. Even after they were given “shoes” they had difficulty in walking on our harder ground.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Camels in western Canada? That IS a fascinating surprise. A shame they were yanked from their homeland to a climate they weren’t meant for. But a gorgeous sculpture. Very nice presentation, Rebecca!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing this beautiful and perfect statue of an unique animal, so perfectly done.. It’s amazing. a few of them actually arrived and lived in Vancouver for a while! All of us who walk by, stop to enjoy this amazing work of Art. There are camels with two humps, too bad we can not see one in an art form such as this. It has been a while since I have seen this unique work of art, I will make it a point to walk by this very soon!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am delighted that you enjoyed The Lady, Frances. I was amazed that anyone would consider bringing camels over to this side of the world. I understand it took Myfanwy MacLeod 2 years to finish this sculpture. We can meet up with The Lady when we get together this week for coffee!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It really was disastrous for the camels, Robbie, and a reminder that we need to consider the needs of our fellow creatures. I am grateful to artists for their ability to share profound messages via creative endeaouvrs.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Camels in Canada! Who would have expected that? 🙂 I was under the impression that Bactrian camels were different from most camels, and could live in very cold and very hot temperatures, including down to -40F. I wonder if the ones that you said escaped to the wild thrived and have decedents in Canada still? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am delighted that you joined me and The Lady in North Vancouver. According to what I’ve read, the last surviving camel was known as “The Lady” (hence the name of the sculpture) and lived at a ranch in Grand Prairie, British Columbia, now Westwold in the interior of British Columbia. She died sometime between 1896 and 1905. I understand that there were unconfirmed camel sightings reported in the decades that followed The Lady’s passing. The problem seemed to be that the camel’s hoofs were suitable to sand but not to rocky trails.

      Liked by 2 people

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