200-year-old tree stump in Dorval turned into memorial for wandering bear

Click to play video: 'Artist honours young bear euthanized in Montreal’s West Island' Artist honours young bear euthanized in Montreal’s West Island
WATCH: A young bear who captured the hearts of many West Islanders last May has been immortalized by a local artist. The bear, who spent hours on the lam in Dorval last spring, was captured and euthanized by wildlife officials, sparking outrage. As Global’s Elizabeth Zogalis reports, the bear's spirit will now live on in the neighbourhood he last roamed. – Jul 20, 2021

On a quiet street in the West Island suburb of Dorval sits a 200-year-old tree trunk that now serves as a memorial.

Dorval resident, Joanne Ewasew, says she wanted to find a way to pay tribute to a bear that was found wandering in the area and eventually captured and euthanized.

“My tree had that disease that was affecting all the ash trees in the area and I tried everything to save it.” says Ewasew.

“I couldn’t, so when the bear went, it made me a little bit sad in an unpredictable way.”

The bear was found roaming in Dorval backyards last May and when it was caught by police and animal control, residents were told the bear would be relocated, but days later it was euthanized.

Ewasew says many of the residents were upset and thought the neighbourhood could use a pick me up, so she decided to get in touch with an artist who is no stranger to giving life back to trees on the chopping block.

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“I had seen in the newspaper there’s a guy with a chainsaw who carves trees, so one thing led to the other,” she says.

Ewasew got in touch with Dale Ruff, an artist from Rigaud. Ruff has been carving tree trunks for nearly four years and recently carved another bear at Beacon Hill Elementary in Beaconsfield.

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“She called me and told me what her idea was and I sketched her a few drawings.”

After some creative brainstorming, they agreed on the design that is now in front of her home.

“It was seven hours straight carving with big saws.” Said Ruff.

“Next time I go back, it’s going to be smaller saws and more detailed work finishing from the face claws and all the details.”

Ruff will also add three coats of varnish to preserve it.

Meantime, residents say they are thrilled with their new neighbour.

“I love it,” says Angela, who lives down the street. “Dorval is a beautiful city so it’s nice to see something like this.”

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“I’ve been doing a lot more walking around and it’s one of those things that’s kind of nice to see on the way to the lake,” says Mike Greczkowski who lives around the corner.

Ewasew says she’s thrilled with the sculpture and loves to see people stop and take photos.


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