Our past in stone: sculpture depicts history of Pontiac



Kate Aley

"At the Crossroads", an eight-foot tall obelisk, was officially dedicated at the Luskville Community Centre on Saturday, October 7. Each side of the monument is symbolic of the municipality’s history, showing aspects of local geology and biology, as well as the lives of First Nations people and European settlers.  

Meghan Lewis, agent for culture and community life for the Municipality of Pontiac, MCed the dedication, describing the concept behind the new piece and the elements of local history it represents. "This area will be further developed with picnic tables and more gardens," she told Pontiac2020.ca. "We chose this site for the elements of hills, river and farmland. It will be a welcoming face for visitors to the municipality."

Sculptor John-Philippe Smith said this is the first time a piece of his work has been placed in the Pontiac. However, his company Smith & Barber has restored stone work on several buildings on Parliament Hill. "My ancestors came to this area in the 1880s," he told the assembled guests. "It's an honour to use this medium to represent the history of this area." Smith thanked his both his parents and his high-school art teacher, Shawville's Carol Holmes, for their support in his artistic endeavors.

A detail of the First Nations panel. "At the Crossroads" is one of seven new sculptures highlighting the historical, cultural and natural heritage of  municipalities of the MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais. It was the last of the series to be unveiled.

The obelisk was paid for through the Collines de l’Outaouais Cultural Development Fund, the Development Agreement between the MRC and the Ministry of Culture and Communications. Other financial partners included the seven municipalities of the MRC, Tourisme Outaouais and the Regional Conference of Outaouais elected officials (CREO).