Skip to content

Don Cherry statue in Saskatchewan a new must stop spot on Trans Canada

The Village of Mortlach along Highway 1 in Saskatchewan is now marked by an iconic wooden statue of Don Cherry and his dog Blue.

As Mortlach prepares for its inaugural “Meet Me in Mortlach” project this summer, one of the first steps is nearly completed with an iconic wooden statue now marking the entrance to the community in style.

Travellers along the Trans-Canada Highway will quickly discover the location of the project thanks to a 15-foot-tall sculpture of Don Cherry and his dog, Blue, which now overlooks the site of the new venue.

Made of Manitoba maple sourced right on location in Mortlach, sculptor Darren Jones said he’s thrilled with the medium and has been enjoying the small-town hospitality shown to him since he began the project around eight days ago.

“We built this (sculpture) from all the trees that were in (the villages’) tree dump and one that was dead and needed to be taken out,” he noted.

The statue contains a bench for visitors to sit down for a photo, will soon receive a final coat of paint to add some colour, and Jones said he’s pleased with how it turned out.

“I got him — I got his face,” Jones said. “I know that’s Don Cherry’s face.”

With the carving now completed, Jones plans to have the statue – weather permitting – fully painted before he leaves on Friday, May 17.

Mortlach residents Mike Beaudoin and Terry Bittles originally asked Jones to build a sculpture at the village entrance to draw attention to the upcoming marketplace and, as Jones explained, to “just add something unusual” for motorists to view as they drive along the highway.

“This is hockey country down here, and (Don Cherry) is a Canadian icon and I think that’s why they chose (him),” Jones said.

The idea to feature Cherry and his dog blue was the brainchild of Mortlach resident Mike Beaudoin.

“Mike said (he) trusted that my addition of Don Cherry will be a nice addition to their Highway One view,” Jones explained.

Although Cherry himself isn’t expected to show up for the grand reveal of his new likeness, Jones said he did reach out to Cherry’s staff ahead of time to make sure the idea was met with approval.

Jones lives in B.C. and, although he’s extremely talented as a wood carver and an artist, his main profession is directional drilling in the oil industry.

“Sculpting is just what I (do) when I’m not drilling holes in the ground,” he said, describing his work as a “dual role” career.

“Whenever a man needs to carve, you need to carve,” he explained. The self-described Virgo said he’s always seeking to outdo his previous work and aims to keep improving his craft. He described this opportunity as “(an) awesome start to the year.”

Among his previous works, Jones carved a 100-year anniversary memorial for miners who lost their lives in Bellevue, Alta., and a monument for 15 Wing Moose Jaw titled “Forever in the Clouds” to commemorate the 21 pilots who died in a 1946 plane crash which was inspired by the loss of his wife.

Jones said he’s thrilled to add his new centrepiece to Mortlach this summer.

“Well, number one, I love this little community,” he said. “I think (the villages’ new summer initiative is) a wonderful thing to give people an opportunity to get out.”

Once completed, Jones will head to Creston, B.C. to work on yet another masterpiece until he returns to the oil patch in a few weeks.

You can view more of Jones’ works on Facebook at ‘CabStudio.’

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks