Statue is almost complete, but comes with a $50,000 price tag
To help meet that goal the The Stompin’ Tom Connors Commemorative Committee hosted a fundraising event at the Laughing Buddha on Saturday.
Before the fundraiser started, the group had already raised $12,000.
Jeff MacIntyre, chair of Downtown Sudbury, and a member of the committee, said the idea for the statue first started as a bit of a joke during a public meeting for the downtown master plan on March 7, 2013 – the day after Connors died of renal failure.
Members of the public were invited to share ideas on how to improve Sudbury's downtown, and three groups suggested a Stompin' Tom statue.
Those suggestions led to more serious discussions about the idea, and sculptor Tyler Fauvelle was commissioned to make the idea a reality.
“Some people will say Sudbury Saturday Night has negative connotations, but it was a real part of what built this city,” MacIntyre said about the famous Stompin' Tom song that celebrated Sudbury's working class roots.“Every city has that kind of colour in its past. Sudbury has always hidden that colour. We stopped having pride in some of the amazing things we've done in this city.”
Connors famously wrote the song at the Townehouse Tavern, where he often performed.
MacIntyre said Connors inspired many of Canada's independent musicians, and could see young musical acts posing with the statue when they come to town and posting those photos on social media.
Fauvelle, who as at Saturday's fundraiser, said he was immediately attracted to the project.
“He's somebody I really respect,” Fauvelle said. “He's a patriotic Canadian and really stood up for artists such as myself.”
He has completed a life-sized clay sculpture of Connors with his guitar in his iconic stomping pose. The sculpture has been sent to a foundry in Toronto where it will be cast in bronze.
Fauvelle said he has put around 1,400 hours of labour into the piece.
The fundraising event Saturday featured a number of live musical acts – including Barry Miles, Jopo, Danny Shamess and Ryan Levecque.
There were also a number of items up for auction, including some of Fauvelle's smaller bronze sculptures.