Recast in bronze, 'The Dude' statue returns to Vancouver's Guelph Park
People gather around a statue named "Dude" after it was returned to Guelph Park, dubbed by locals as Dude Chilling Park, after two years of repairs, in Vancouver on Saturday August 17, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, August 17, 2019 8:50PM EDT
Vancouver's Guelph Park, also known as “Dude Chilling Park,” has its namesake back.
A bronze recasting of the original natural cedar sculpture called “Reclining Figure” and nicknamed “The Dude” has been installed at Guelph Park on 8th Avenue between Main and Fraser streets.
The original wooden figure by artist Michael Dennis was first installed in 1991, reaching the end of its natural life more than 20 years later.
In 2017, artwork was moved to Denman Island, where Dennis restored the work and it was then cast in bronze.
The Vancouver Park Bord says the move was made possible by the advocacy - and financial backing - of the artist and the Mount Pleasant Community Centre Association.
Residents of the neighbourhood say “The Dude” has developed a persona in the community and the statue even received a shout-out on Twitter by Vancouverite Seth Rogan.
“All you have to do is hang out here for a little while and realize that it's a really nice community,” said Dennis, who has covered some costs out of pocket to ensure the statue's return to the park.
“For me to have my work be in this kind of a venue is much more appealing than some rich man's backyard that only his few friends see.”
In 2012, artist Viktor Briestensky installed a sign mimicking the park board's recognizable green and white signs, identifying Guelph Park as “Dude Chilling Park.”
The park board initially removed the sign, but reconsidered after 1,500 people signed a petition favouring it.
A permanent “Dude Chilling Park” sign was installed in 2014 as a piece of public art, which coexists alongside the official Guelph Park sign.
The parody sign caught the eye of late-night television host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who joked that he might have to move to Canada.