Two Canadian culture icons — with ties to Edmonton — have been honoured in bronze in the city’s downtown.
You can now see Bob and Doug McKenzie parked permanently with a pair of stubbies on a bench in the city’s ICE District.
Bob and Doug were two iconic and aggressively Canadian characters on the sketch comedy show Second City TV (SCTV), which filmed several of its seasons at the ITV Studios on Allard Way in Edmonton — where Global News is now produced.
SCTV starred big-name comedians such as John Candy, Joe Flahery — as well as Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, who played Bob and Doug. The show aired on a variety of networks in Canada and the U.S. from 1976 to 1984.
The statues — perched on a bench at 103 Street and 103 Avenue — were sculpted by Edmonton-based artist Ritchie Velthuis.
“Bob and Doug were just Alberta boys through and through, with blue jeans and plaid jackets,” said Velthuis. “I identified them as people you’d see sitting on an Edmonton street in the middle of winter.”
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Velthuis said he was initially approached about the sculpture about five or six years ago, by an Edmonton group who had petitioned to get the monument created.
“I think that people can really identify with them in a very profound way, and so I just wanted to create a sculpture that represented these ordinary guys, because that’s what Bob and Doug were,” Velthuis said.
He said that throughout the final sculpting process, over a six-month period, he worked with Thomas and Moranis to make sure the details were perfect.
“The first thing that Dave Thomas said was, ‘Doug did not wear his earmuffs over his ears. They were on top of his head,'” Velthius said.
Velthius said that although there was no formal unveiling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to widespread shutdowns and cancellations, he hopes that the statue will uplift people in these uncertain times.
“They are the fabric of Canada,” he said.
“In our tough times right now, with this virus, and this uncertainty, there’s life that goes on and so much to be grateful and blessed for. Art is the lifeline of the community.”