McMichael Sculpture Garden by Carol Phillips

McMichael Sculpture Garden.


As we stepped into the sculpture garden on the grounds of the McMichael Collection it was a magical moment altogether. The air was fragrant with spring smells released after a dawn shower and as an added bonus the mosquitoes weren’t finding us yet!

Warm moist late spring weather, sunshine and birdsong everywhere and here we were outside taking it in with all our senses.

The garden’s introductory sign proclaimed ‘The sculpture garden represents a deep appreciation of the poetic relationship between art and nature’.

Looming ahead of us, behind some typical Canadian pines, was the first of nine mammoth bronze sculptures donated in 2010 by artist Canadian artist Ivan Eyre. Now I knew nothing about the artist so was pleased to discover that Eyre is a Saskatchewan native born in 1935, has his paintings and sculptures in the National Gallery of Canada and in galleries and private collections around the world…and luckily for us, at our own McMichael Collection right here in York region!


Starting at the beginning of the path you first come across the sculpture called ‘Plains Call’ and with no explanation of the meaning you are happily left to your own imaginings. Given our mood we chose to believe this was a couple serenading each other on a lovely spring day…on the plains! Go and see if you can do better!




Strolling along the path that winds between the sculptures you’re transported to a world of giant mythical, human like creatures. The setting is perfect as each one is placed apart from the other with its own stand of trees – towering trees diminished in size by their huge bronze neighbors.

My favourite was the powerful looking ‘North Watch’ with the trusty dog at his side. Although I’m sure it may not have been the artists intention it appealed to the science fiction fan in me! Maybe he comes from the North star –  not a very sophisticated interpretation perhaps but  you are encouraged to go and apply your own.




We found ourselves happily anticipating each step along the way and what delight might be around the corner… although in the peace of the garden there is no need to rush.


If you drive to the McMichael you will need to park on their grounds and there is a parking fee of  $5.00 but it goes to the maintenance of the property which is superb.  This fee however also gives you access to the extensive grounds surrounding the McMichael art galleries. For this modest parking fee you could spend the day exploring their one hundred forested acres of outdoor paths and hiking trails.  That is not to mention the world class galleries themselves which you will want to visit one day although there is an extra entrance fee.

For us however those will have to wait for another day as we contentedly rambled through the sculpture garden. If you go I’d love to hear what explanations you attached to the sculptures!