One of Vancouver’s most beloved artworks returned home this week as “The Dude” took his rightful place in Mount Pleasant’s Guelph Park.
Originally installed in the early 1990’s, the cedar sculpture’s official title is “Reclining Figure.” However, his unofficial name quickly caught on and now graces the park’s signage at the corner of 8th and Brunswick Street.
Restored to Former Glories
In recent years, The Dude had fallen into disrepair. The Mount Pleasant community rallied together and raised thousands of dollars so he could be restored to former glories. Following a quick trip to Denman Island, and the studio of original sculptor, Michael Dennis, The Dude is back where he belongs, sporting a brand-new bronze cast.
“For me to have my work be in this kind of venue is much more appealing than some rich man’s backyard that only his few friends see,” said sculptor Michael Dennis.
“We have a lot of emotions inside us that we don’t always show and just chilling out – that’s a particularly good one.”
Impact on the Community
From his perch within Guelph Park The Dude has had a major impact on his local community. In 2012, artist Viktor Briestensky felt inspired to install a light-hearted “Dude Chilling Park” sign that closely copied the style of Vancouver Park Board’s own signs.
While the sign was initially removed, over 1,500 people signed a petition calling for the sign to be re-installed. It was permanently returned in 2014, where it has remained in honour of The Dude ever since.
The statue of The Dude was officially re-unveiled on August 17, 2019, a date the City of Vancouver proclaimed as Dude Chilling Day.