reprinted from Red Deer Advocate
(Renee Francoeur) May 5, 2012
The new bronze sculpture of Julietta Sorensen was revealed to the
public for the first time on Friday morning at Sorensen Station
downtown Red Deer.
Sorensen, along with her husband Gordon, was a prominent figure in
the city's transit history.
'Waiting for Gordon' is the 10th sculpture in the Ghost collection
of public art, which commemorates key people and events from Red
It depicts Julietta looking south over a cup of coffee, surrounded
by vintage leather suitcases also cast in bronze. She's softly
leaning to one side in a button-down dress, a hand on her hip.
"The ghost collection is one of the great things that distinguishes
Red Deer," said Mayor Morris Flewwelling at the public unveiling on
the corner of 49th Avenue and 49th Street. "Today we are honouring
the Sorensen family."
The Sorensens operated the city's first bus service and Julietta
also ran the Blue Derby Cafe out of the bus depot. She passed away
in 2004 at the age of 96.
The couple is remembered for the way they looked after the
community, feeding and greeting locals and visitors, said Kristina
Oberg, acting Recreation, Parks and Culture Department manager.
"It definitely looks like Grandma," said Ted Sorensen, Julietta and
Gordon's grandson, who attended the unveiling with many other
members of the family. "The stance, the way her hair is done --
pulled back with barrettes . . . it's her."
Cecil Sorensen, Julietta and Gordon's son, said the sculpture was
all around fantastic.
"We never expected something like this," he said. "Mother would have
been shocked, wondering why so much fuss was being made about her,"
'Waiting for Gordon' was created by sculptor Brian McArthur.
"I wanted to share the Sorensens' compelling story about their
frontier spirit and capture their co-operative nature of running a
family business," said McArthur, who also runs a business, Voyage
Art and Tile, with his wife Dawn Detarando.
'Waiting for Gordon' includes not only the sculpture of Julietta but
also two roundels or discs in the shape of bus tires attached to the
side wall of the bus station. One of the roundels features Gordon in
his bus driver's cap and his hands on the steering wheel. The other
one is a side profile of Julietta with a coffee pot at the lunch
counter of the Blue Derby.
The entire project, from start to finish, took about a year, said
Julietta will by no means be the last of the bronze art pieces to
decorate city streets and parks, said Brian McLoughlin, the chair of
Red Deer's public art committee.
He said he wants to see the collection expand out of the downtown
Under public art policy with the city, one per cent of all capital
projects in the city goes toward public art, he noted.
"The collection builds a sense of community. It's a reminder of our
past . . . I think you have to know where you come from in order to
know where you're going," said McLoughlin.
An antique bus was also on hand at the unveiling with photo displays
inside from the early transit days provided by city archives.
The bronze art collection, said to be one of the largest of its kind
in Canada for public art, started in 1994. Other sculptures include
city founder Leonard Gaetz, women's rights and farming advocate
Hazel Braithwaite, and Doris Forbes with Mickey the beaver, Red
Deer's most famous pet.
Until now, there had been no new additions to the collection since
News article: Newest city ghost unveiled downtown
(Red Deer Express May 2012)
News article: Classic bus cruises city streets
(Red Deer Advocate June 2011)
News article: Transit to retire last low-floor
(Red Deer Advocate Feb.2011)
News article: Parkade named Sorensen Station
(Red Deer Express June 2010)
article: Downtown parkade to be named after transportation pioneer
(Red Deer Advocate June 2010)
News article: Rare GM public bus saved by city
(Red Deer Express Dec.2009)
Evolution of Transit in Central Alberta
History of Red Deer Transit
Michael Dawe article related to transit heritage:
Sorensen Station a fitting tribute
(Red Deer Express June 2010)