Girl in a Wetsuit, 1972

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Photo: Taylor McConnell.

1972
Girl in a Wetsuit
Elek Imredy’s Girl in a Wetsuit sculpture was unveiled on a rock off Stanley Park. (She’s often misidentified as a mermaid, but if you look, you’ll see the Girl has feet rather than a fishtail.)

Tom Butler, a former public relations professional, said that “the project was conceived by the late Vancouver lawyer Doug McK. Brown, who hired me to stick-handle the [unveiling]. After the obligatory speeches, when the denouement arrived, Brown announced that, since the Girl belonged henceforth to everyone who used the park, it would be inappropriate for himself or any of the politicians present to do the unveiling. Rather, the honour should go to the first citizen who strolled into view along the seawall. The assemblage waited for 10 minutes in the rain, while the Sea Cadet Band from HMCS Discovery tootled its entire repertoire. Finally, two girls came along arm-in-arm and were startled when Brown told them the honour was to be theirs. The girls together pulled a string on shore that reached out to the canvas covering the Girl—and the historic unveiling was accomplished.”

Those girls, who “quite accidentally strolled into Vancouver history,” were Sharon Lockhart and Mary McGowan, both 15 and both Navy League Wrenettes. According to Peggy Imredy, the artist’s widow, the Girl “represents Vancouver’s dependence on the sea and the necessity to use the sea for the benefit of all.”

View the entire Metro Vancouver History 365 Series HERE.

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