By Dan Davidson on August 27, 2021
DAWSON CITY – It’s just under 13 months ago that Dawsonites witnessed a mammoth progression up Front Street from the north end to a spot at the Waterfront Park near the Commissioner’s residence.
It was literally a mammoth event. While there has been some landscaping around the life-size statue since them, it was only in the last few weeks that people who didn’t already know could read about the project on-site.
“It took us some time to get around to it,” posted Mayor Wayne Potoroka this week, “but we finally caught up with Halin de Repentigny and thanked him for sharing his talents with our town.
“The mammoth across from the Commissioner’s Residence is a fantastic addition to our cultural and visual landscape.”
As the town recreation department noted in a separate post, “This piece has quickly become one of the most photographed things in Dawson and changed the landscape of this part of the dyke.”
“There are more folks than just Halin to thank for this,” Potoroka continued. “(There’s) Stuart Schmidt, the benefactor of the project; Erich Raguth, the promoter who persisted in having the town accept this gift; and Gammie Trucking and Donnie Flynn and his crew, who brought the mammoth from Halin’s front yard to its new home.”
Recently, the City of Dawson erected a sign and met with de Repentigny to commemorate the donation of his piece The Woolly Mammoth to Waterfront Park.
The interpretive sign included input from the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Yukon government palaeontologists, the Klondike Placer Miners’ Association and Halin himself.
Town council members were happy to meet with de Repentigny last Friday to personally thank him and all those involved in this project.
“I’m a fan of Halin’s art,” Potoroka wrote, “so I was pickled to have this significant, sizable piece of art added to the many other pieces he has on display around town. (They must number in the double digits by now.)
“But the entire saga of this beast and its path to its new home is a great reminder that remarkable, unusual things are still possible in this remarkable, unusual town.”
The plaque explains the selection of the Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) as a subject, suggested by the large number of mammoth bones that have been unearthed continuously since 1896 as a result of placer mining operations.
de Repentigny created the statue is his back yard in 2020, using cement, rebar and wire mesh using a ferro-cement method.