The Haliburton Sculpture Forest is not your ordinary trail system. The loop in Glebe Park, near the village of Haliburton, is home to a variety of art installations. Think outdoor museum.
“We started putting sculptures in the park here along the trails 20 years ago,” said curator Jim Blake. “Now we have about 40 different permanent sculptures from artists across Canada and different places in the world.”
The pieces range from stone carvings to larger than life steel structures.
Blake said a board of directors puts a lot of thought into what goes where along the trail. (You can check out the full gallery here.)
“We do a lot of thinking about the kinds of sculptures we have,” Blake said.
He said the idea is to have each piece complement and interact with its surroundings.
“The idea is to have them look like they just appeared there,” Blake said. “We want it to look as natural as possible and to have the sculptures fit into that natural place.”
Local artist Charles O’Neil has two pieces in the park. One is a two-metre high shoe, titled ‘Fire and Ice: A Really Big Shoe.’ Talk about a high heel.
“I started at the blacksmith studio,” said O’Neil, while describing the piece. “The main structure is steel and then it covered in stainless steel wire and glass beads.”
Other things you’ll find along the way include a moose made of vintage farm equipment and hardware, a giant dandelion and a hideaway made from local stone.
Blake said while the park isn’t encouraging visitors from far away during the lockdown, they are hoping those nearby will use the trails as a way to get some exercise and inspiration.
“People are anxious to still be in touch with culture and art, but so many things have been closed,” Blake said.
“What has happened is we have had thousands of people coming to walk or ski or snowshoe because it is a great place to keep your distance, but also it is such a unique spot.”