Now that construction on George Street in downtown Brantford has been completed, you may have noticed a brand new look to the sidewalk in front of the Carnegie Building (73 George Street).
The original plans for the streetscape design included concrete etched for visual. As Laurier is celebrating its 15th year in Brantford, its anniversary celebrations included the revitalization of their inaugural building – the Carnegie Building (formerly Brantford’s original public library). In planning these celebrations, Wilfrid Laurier University Brantford’s campus Art Advisory Committee approached the City of Brantford to enhance the current street improvement project by including a public art component.
The piece, installed in August 2015, features seven granite tablets, ranging from 175 to over 700 pounds in weight. The tablets are inset into the concrete and arranged in a swirl pattern; the quote, "Then meet we as one common Brotherhood. In peace and love, with purpose understood" is etched into the swirl, along with Pauline Johnson’s signature on the base tablet. This excerpt was written by E. Pauline Johnson, and read by William Cockshutt, for the dedication of the Joseph Brant Monument (Victoria Park) on October 13, 1886.
The quote ties together the Carnegie Building (in its former life as a library) and the Joseph Brant Monument, while recognizing the significance of Johnson as a local author and historical figure:
“The idea for the poetry in the sidewalk came from one of our professors, Ian MacRae. As we began discussions it made sense that we would honor a hometown poet as a way to counterbalance the British authors whose names are over the windows of the Carnegie Building. I am really pleased that the quote comes from the poem written by Johnson and read at the unveiling of the Joseph Brant monument.”
– Kathryn Carter, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President, Teaching and Learning (Acting), Wilfrid Laurier University
Take a trip downtown to stand on the steps of the Carnegie building to enjoy a wonderful view of the new installation, Victoria Park, and the Joseph Brant Monument, and revel in the history of Brantford’s downtown and our community’s remarkable citizens.