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Ghost unveiled
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 Deer's past.

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," he laughed.

'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 McArthur.

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 area.

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 2004.

       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 vehicle
(Red Deer Advocate Feb.2011)
       News article: Parkade named Sorensen Station
(Red Deer Express June 2010)
       News article: Downtown parkade to be named after transportation pioneer Gordon Sorensen                                                                                                                
(Red Deer Advocate June 2010)
       News article: Rare GM public bus saved by city bus man
(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)


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