It wasn't installed with a lot of fanfare. But, in light of the tough times many of us are going through right now, maybe it's time to share a good-news story in Edmonton.
By Steven Sandor | March 25, 2020
It wasn’t installed with a lot of fanfare. But, in light of the tough times many of us are going through right now, maybe it’s time to share a good-news story in Edmonton.
A monument that celebrates Edmonton’s connection with one of comedy’s most-loved institutions is now a reality. Bob and Doug McKenzie can now be found in the ICE District, telling all you hosers to take off, eh? And, if you’re making sure to keep your social distance, check it out.
In 2012, Avenue ran a cover story on SCTV’s Edmonton history, how the seminal years of this influential comedy show were shot at the south-side ITV studios, which now houses Global Edmonton.
And, we thought, why not do more than a story? Our late publisher, Orville Chubb, championed the idea that, heck, why not have a statue that celebrates SCTV and its lasting legacy? Wayne Gretzky has a statue, we have a statue of a guy taking a lunch break in Churchill Square, why not a statue that celebrates some of SCTV’s most famous characters?
We launched a petition and held a launch event at Metro Cinema, where we screened some of the show’s most famous skits. With the support we received through the online petition and this event, we recognized that our city was rallying behind the idea.
SCTV’s first season was filmed in Toronto, but the show was in risk of being cancelled before it could even really gain any sort of momentum. It was Dr. Charles Allard who laid the groundwork for the show to move to Edmonton, and to blossom as a staple on both CBC and NBC. It was from Edmonton that characters such as the McKenzie Brothers, Johnny LaRue, Guy Caballero and Edith Prickley would emerge as pop-culture staples.
It was fitting that the Allard family shared our vision for an SCTV monument. We formed a committee and, as committees are wont to do, things went dark. We worked behind the scenes. We didn’t make many public pronouncements. What did we do? We rallied support behind the scenes, selected a sculptor from a series of submissions and filled out a lot of paperwork.
And, surprise! Bob and Doug are a new addition to the ICE District, just to the west of Stantec Tower. Actually, two new additions. Sculptor Ritchie Velthuis has rendered two of the show’s most iconic characters, Bob and Doug McKenzie. Yup, hosers, it’s time to raise your stubbies and salute the made-in-Edmonton characters that came from the minds of Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas.
When things get back to normal, expect to see a formal launch ceremony.
The Oilers Entertainment Group has been a champion for the project, and we’re thrilled that Bob and Doug will forever be toasting passersby downtown.
“We are truly honoured to have a Bob and Doug McKenzie Monument in the City of Edmonton,” said Moranis in a statement released to Avenue .. “It’s hard to believe it was 40 years ago that we recorded the very first episode of SCTV’s The Great White North at ITV Studios. Despite the time that has passed, we hold dear the memories of working with the people of Edmonton. We look forward to returning very soon to see our old friends who worked on the show and take a look at our new bronze brothers in the flesh.”
That’s right, a big official unveiling event will come in the future, after it’s safe to get together and salute everyone involved.
Of course, Bob and Doug had some things to say about the monument.
“Geez, eh. Aren’t you supposed to be dead before they put up a statue of you? Do you guys know something we don’t know? Thanks for making us look better than we actually do now. One question, eh. What do they call the ICE District in the summer?”
SCTV Statue Committee
Paul Allard, Allard Developments
Orville Chubb, late publisher, Avenue Edmonton
Beth Allard Clough, Allard Foundation
Duncan Fraser, Senior City Planner, City of Edmonton
Scott Gibb, vice president sales, Vertical Impression