Jubilant Man

“Jubilant Man” is a bronze sculpture in Ireland Park on the shore of Lake Ontario in Toronto.  The park was opened in 2007 and it commemorates the 38,000 Irish who came to Toronto in 1847 fleeing the Great Famine in their native land.  Toronto, at that time, had only 20,000 residents but Torontonians welcomed the newcomers to their community.  Today, many descendents of these early immigrants have made significant positive contributions not only to Toronto, but to Canada.  The sculpture is one of a series in the park that were made by Rowan Gillespie and they are similar to a set of figures made by him in Dublin called “Departure”; the Toronto sculptures are known as “The Arrival”.  The Great Famine claimed approximately one million people and one million others left Ireland – the result was a significant drop in the island’s population (approximately one quarter).  The famine was caused by a disease in the potato crop, which was key in the diet of many Irish.  However, many observers and historians say that England was culpable in some measure for the magnitude of the famine either through neglect, incompetence, wilful blindness, or, more controversially, clear intent to commit genocide.  The sad fact is that while many Irish were starving, food grown in Ireland was being exported to England.   The famine had a significant impact on Irish nationalism; one nationalist noted that “The Almighty, indeed, sent the potato blight, but the English created the Famine.”  As always, I invite you to do some more research on your own and make your own mind up.

This image is part of Monochrome Weekend.

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