Oh, Mother Madonna!

Dawson statue undergoes reconstruction

by Katrina Caruso

Dawson’s statue of the Madonna and Child, the historical artifact that sits atop the Sherbrooke entrance, is getting remodeled.

The restoration is estimated at around $47,000, and perhaps may not be adequate for the entire project; there are other costs. To remove the statue it cost over $20,000, and to replace it will require more. It’s a careful process and needs to be performed delicately.

“I think that’s a lot of money,” said Laura Buchanan, a second semester Radiation Oncology student.


“It’s hard to say how much it’s going to cost the school,” said Mario Laccitiello, the Coordinator of Plant & Facilities. “We have to go through the paperwork.” To help pay for this procedure, the costs will constitute parts of the Dawson budget and, as opposed to worries presented by students, will not be coming from our student fees.

Dawson is also applicable for grants from the Minister of Culture, Christine St-Pierre. Dawson’s status as a heritage site requires the school to upkeep the statue along with the rest of Dawson’s exterior. Laccitiello is “fairly confident” that the school will receive grants to pay for at least 50 per cent of the costs.  

The statue, made in London in 1907, is undergoing an update that will consist of having the top layers of the statue removed and cleaned.

The inner layers, originally of mortar and cement, are going to be removed completely. Instead, the statue will have its insides reinforced with fiber carbon rods. This will prevent future damage from Montreal winter snowstorms, pollution and moisture. 


In 1991, Mary was first restored; but the job had been poorly rendered. Now, the statue is extremely fragile and the Montreal restorers have an extremely complex job at hand. Laccitiello and St-Pierre met Monday, February 1, with the restorers; allegedly, a message in a bottle was found in the inner layers of Mary’s head. The bottle was most likely placed there during the 1940s when the statue’s head was replaced.

Some students were disrupted by the statue’s removal in September 2009, as it caused the Sherbrooke entrance to be blocked off.

“If it’s not inconveniencing people, then it should be restored,” Christina Gaspar, a fourth semester Fine Arts student, said.

The process should be finished in June, at which time reinstallation will commence; therefore it should not interfere with many students’ comings and goings. Students can expect to see Mary replaced in time for the Grads of 2010. 

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