The massive metal eagle was installed in Cranbrook’s Harmony Park this week, after months of work by local steel fabricator Ron Demaniuk.
Speaking to MyEastKootenayNow.com at Harmony Park on Tuesday, directly across from the Cranbrook History Centre adjacent to Highway 3, Ron Demaniuk said the eagle is close to 26 feet wide and stands 10 feet tall.
“350 hours of work went into it. There’s over 200 feathers there. The feathers – paper templates had to be made, they had to be cut out of steel, they had to be cleaned up, they had to be put on a brake and bent and then welded.”
Demaniuk started work on the eagle in January after Cranbrook City Council approved his design.
PREVIOUS: City Council approves eagle sculpture for Cranbrook’s Harmony Park (January 29, 2020)
The Columbia Basin Trust’s $30,000 Public Arts Grant helped cover costs of the project, while the City of Cranbrook had budgeted $7,500 of its own funds for the art piece. Demaniuk had originally budgeted nearly $32,000 for the eagle in his proposal but said the final piece was under budget as he did all of the work himself in his garage.
Saving costs by doing his own plasma cutting, metalworking, and welding, Demaniuk said the project was under his original $32,000 budget.
While the eagle took months for Demaniuk to complete, he almost didn’t work on the project at all, if not for the encouragement from friends and family.
“It was good to see that there was over 12 people that applied for the art project and then it came down to three finalists. The first proposal I only made because I was encouraged by other people, ‘put in a proposal’ so I put it in and when I was accepted I hade to make a second proposal, then I got serious.”
Demaniuk said his real work began when he thoroughly investigated Harmony Park and began final preparations for the structure. He noted it had to be placed above ground so as to not compete with the downtown Cranbrook sign, the park’s benches, light fixtures, and to ensure the metal art piece was safely out of reach from the general public.
The City of Cranbrook provided the steel base for the eagle, which was mounted and installed on Monday.
“I really enjoyed working with the City and the cooperation I got with the City as far as the base and the complete project, and even bringing it down this past Sunday. They had made holding brackets and everything and it was easy setting it up,” Demaniuk told MyEastKootenayNow.com. “On Monday, Dan from the City came and welded it on to the base and there it sits, it’s not going to move that’s for sure.”
The 77-year-old said he doesn’t like being called an artist, instead, believing his art is just a passion and something he can do now that he’s retired. When previously speaking to MyEastKootenayNow.com in January when he began his work on the eagle, Demaniuk said he wanted the eagle to be a legacy art piece for the community.
“When I do a sculpture, it’s part of me, I feel every bit of that eagle when I put it together,” said Demaniuk. “I’ve lived in Cranbrook over 40 years, I’m not going to move from Cranbrook, Cranbrook’s my home and I figured that by doing this eagle for the city, I’m giving something back.”
For decades to come the metal eagle will remain looking over Harmony Park and be a focal point for travellers entering or driving through Cranbrook on Highway 3.