Meet Me in Mortlach: Recently completed Don Cherry statue now a national sensation

MORTLACH — Anyone travelling down the Trans-Canada Highway near Mortlach will now recognize the entrance to the small village thanks to a lively, colourful, and unique 15-foot sculpture of Don Cherry.

Completed earlier this month with the goal of attracting guests to the village’s upcoming “Meet Me in Mortlach” prairie-draw project, the sculpture is the creation of artist, sculptor, and oil patch worker Darren Jones.

Now that the carving has been completed and fully painted, Mike Beaudoin, Mortlach resident and driving force behind the statue, said it’s already become something of a coast-to-coast — and even international — sensation.

“Yeah, this Don Cherry thing, it’s gone right from coast to coast,” Beaudoin said. “We’ve got people from Boston, Mass., who had to stop and get their picture taken with Don Cherry.”

Beaudoin said the village is now seeing an additional average of 60 to100 people each day who’ve either heard about the statue or who’ve been stopping by to see what the colourful new landmark is all about.

“It has just taken off,” he said about the recent influx of visitors.

“I’ve literally been sleeping outside for a week and a half now,” he continued. “People are showing up all hours of the day and shining lights on it at night … . It’s got a life of its own now.”

The newest addition to the community of Mortlach is made of Manitoba maple and was locally sourced from discarded and otherwise pre-cut wood. Jones, who has shown a great respect for his medium, takes pride in knowing the carving did not require any trees to be felled just for the project.

To help spread the word, the Moose Jaw Express has previously covered the sculpture as it was taking shape, and Beaudoin said he’s seen the carving featured in the Calgary Sun, the Toronto Sun, Global News, and perhaps countless others. Beaudoin even said that Canadian premier Doug Ford shared a few words regarding the new statue.

“It’s just been crazy here the last couple of days,” he added.

To build on the successful hype generated by the likeness of Mr. Cherry, Beaudoin said he’s looking to contact Jones once again and see if he can make another visit this summer to carve out a few additional creations. Nothing has been confirmed on this idea quite yet.

The Don Cherry statue is located along Highway 1 at the entrance to the village of Mortlach. Everyone’s welcome to come check it out and pose for a unique photograph with the legendary icon of Canadian hockey.

To view more of sculptor Darren Jones’ past creations, visit ‘CabStudio’ on Facebook.

The Meet Me in Mortlach project is currently awaiting final licensing and a further update will be provided once an opening date for the summer-long venue has been confirmed.

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