It's only right that there should be a Stompin' Tom statue in the city's downtown, said Rainbow Routes executive director and Ward 9 city council candidate Deb McIntosh, one of those spearheading the project.
After all, Connors wrote one of his most famous songs — Sudbury Saturday Night — during a three-week stint playing at the Towne House Tavern on Elgin Street.
McIntosh said the Stompin' Tom Connors Commemorative Committee has commissioned local sculptor Tyler Fauvelle to create the statue, which it hopes to see installed in the downtown sometime this year.
On Feb. 12, the group will gather at the Towne House to launch a $50,000 fundraising campaign to pay for the creation.
“We don't see that it's going to be difficult (to raise the money), because people are big fans,” she said. “He's almost retro in that it's a different generation that's embraced him.”
As evidence, McIntosh points to the well-attended tribute concert Northern Life put on at the Towne House last year after Connors passed away.
She said she thinks the statue will become a tourist attraction.
McIntosh said the Stompin' Tom statue idea came about at a workshop on the Elgin Greenway project, which took place on the same day that Connors' death was announced.
“I don't remember exactly who said it, but the idea just kind of took hold at my table,” she said.
McIntosh said she's been working on the project with fellow community leaders such as Northern Cancer Foundation executive director Tannys Laughren, Downtown Sudbury executive director Maureen Luoma and Downtown Sudbury chair Jeff MacIntyre.
She said she's a fan of Connors' music herself, mostly because her father listened to the type of country-folk music he plays. “When I hear him singing Sudbury Saturday Night, my toe taps,” McIntosh said.
Fauvelle told Northern Life he's already in the process of creating the statue, which is first sculpted in clay and then cast in bronze. He said he thinks people will be really excited when it's unveiled.
The artist said he's created similar statues of mining prospectors which are now on display in Timmins. “Whenever I take on a project, I try to put my whole heart into it,” he said.
The public is invited to the launch on Feb. 12.
For more information about the project, contact [email protected].