Sudbury, Ontario, sculptor Tyler Fauvelle puts some of the finishing touches on a life-sized statue of Stompin’ Tom Connors set to be unveiled in that city’s downtown later this year. Submitted photo
SUMMERSIDE – Somewhere out there in the cosmos Tom Connors’ spirit is probably cracking a crooked grin over a cup of moonshine.
The man known across the land as Stompin’ Tom from Skinner’s Pond is being immortalized by a dedicated group of fans in a town he helped put on the map – Sudbury, Ontario.
“Yeah, the girls are out to bingo
And the boys are gettin' stinko
And we'll think no more of Inco
On a Sudbury Saturday night”
Words ranked amongst the most classic of Connors’ repertoire, they were laid out in his 1967 tune “Sudbury Saturday Night.”
With Connors’ passing nearly one year ago, a group of Sudbury residents have banded together to erect a life-sized bronze statue of a young version of him in the downtown.
Local sculptor Tyler Fauvelle created the statue, which is now in the process of being bronzed.
Fauvelle started work on the project in secret shortly after Connors’s passing – long before anyone had raised a single cent to pay for it.
Connors is someone Fauvelle has a lot of respect for, which is why he was so keen on the project.
“I wanted this project to get done, regardless of how it got done,” he said during a recent interview.
“So I decided to do the sculpture in full … regardless of the consequences of fundraising,” he said.
“We have so few home-grown patriots – I just wanted to be part of making sure he’s not forgotten.”
Fauvelle was originally approached by the The Stompin’ Tom Connors Commemorative Committee in Sudbury, which is made up of local fans and business people.
They kicked off a fundraising campaign earlier this month to raise $50,000 to pay for the statue.
They are raising money locally and have turned to crowdfunding to help raise half the money. Their Indiegogo page can be viewed here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/stompin-tom-bronze-sculpture.
Fauvelle said he’s hopeful of having a grand unveiling of the statue later this summer, but he’s keeping the finished product under wraps until then.
Anyone who would like to contact the statue’s organizing committee can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sudbury isn’t the only community working on commemorating Connors.
Tourism Minister Robert Henderson issued a call for public suggestions on how to memorialize the musician, shortly after his passing. The province received 25 suggestions.
Premier Robert Ghiz then confirmed in the 2013 budget that the province would commit to supporting some form of memorial – whatever it ended up being.
However, since that announcement was made in November there has been little to no measurable progress on the file.
Henderson did say though in an emailed statement that the project remains on the department’s books.
“Discussions are ongoing in relation to a fitting commemoration to Stompin’ Tom's life in West Prince,” said Henderson.
“We continue to work with our partners and the Connors family to determine the most suitable option. We received lots of feedback from Islanders and that information has helped guide the discussion to this point.”