A sunny morning prompted me to cycle to Exhibition Place with a garden in mind. Entry to this garden is free to the public which means it can get busy on a nice day. Did I choose the right time to visit?
The Garden of the Greek Gods is a collection of 20 amazing limestone sculptures by renowned Canadian sculptor Elford Bradley “E.B.” Cox (1914-2003). They were originally sculpted in the 1960s and were previously displayed in less accessible locations. They are once again on display in a beautiful garden setting.
Even though visitors can enter the garden from any side, an official plaque about the garden located near Hercules, the tallest sculpture in the collection, seems like a logical place to start. Each sculpture has a plaque explaining the Greek mythology.
Exploring the Garden
In the first row on the south side of the garden, I meet:
- Hercules: The mighty hero of ancient Greece. The gods tested him with 12 labours. He is seen here after slaying the Nemean lion.
- Medusa: One of the three gorgons, with hair of snakes, whose glance changed all who looked at her into stone.
- Narcissus: A handsome young man who pined away for love of his own reflection, finally turning into the flower of the same name.
Next row along the garden path:
- The Sphinx: A strange creature with claws of a bird and the body and tail of a lion. This woman would devour passing travellers if they could not answer her riddle correctly.
- Centaur: One of a jolly race of creatures, half man, half horse who lived in the forest of ancient Greece, and were very hard to catch.
- The Minotaur: Half bull, half man, he guarded the maze for the King of Crete until vanquished by the Greek Prince Theseus.
- Aphrodite: Goddess of Love, also known as Venus. Born of the sea, she reached shore riding a scallop shell.
- Orpheus: He charmed the creatures of the forest with his wonderful playing of the lyre and his heavenly singing.
- The Three Graces: These beauties were judged by Paris, and the most beautiful of them received the golden apple.
Around the corner, six intriguing sculptures beckon:
- The Hydra: A monstrous dragon with nine heads originally – However if one head was cut off, two heads grew in its place.
- Cyclops: One of a race of giant one-eyed men who herded sheep for a living. They were finally done in by Hercules after a fierce struggle.
- The Typhon: Supposed to be a fearsome creature, half man, half snake. This last surviving speciman doesn’t seem so very fierce.
- The Triton: He ruled the seas and by blowing on his conch shell could either stir up the waves or calm a storm.
- Cerberus: This savage three-headed dog guarded the gates of Hades, to keep good people out and bad people in.
- Pan: The elusive god of the forest, half man, half goat, full of fun and games. He invented the reed pipes and filled the woods with their sounds.
Five smaller sculptures in the last row and a block with the sculptor’s name and date marks the end of the garden:
- Mermaid: A sea nymph having the body of a woman and tail of a fish. Here she holds a merbaby and a young dolphin.
- Boy on a Dolphin: Many stories come down from antiquity of children having dolphins for playmates, and of lost sailors being helped to shore by dolphins.
- Sea Horse: These creatures appeared on the surface of the Mediterranean as whitecaps. In large groups they could stir up quite a storm if the wind was right.
- The Phoenix: After living in the desert for 500 years this bird was consumed by fire. It rose anew from its own ashes and is the symbol of eternal life.
- The Harpies: These bird-women were the embodiment of conscience and tore at the hearts of evil-doers.
I was fortunate to have the garden all to myself. I headed home feeling great about my choice for the day. I got sunshine, fresh air, an enjoyable bike ride, and a delightful walk to see beautiful sculptures.
What colour are the sculptures?
Weekend Coffee Share
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