The Dude returns to east Vancouver, where he really ties the park together

Credit to Author: Harrison Mooney| Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2019 04:43:32 +0000

The Dude abides in east Vancouver’s Guelph Park, but for the past two years, the infamous Vancouver art installation has been away for repairs.

On Tuesday, The Dude returned.

The natural cedar sculpture, which is officially called Reclining Figure, is the work of artist Michael Dennis and has been a fixture of the park since 1991.

Nicknamed The Dude, because it looks so much like a dude who’s just chilling in the park, it later inspired local artist Viktor Briestensky to create an art installation in the form of a City of Vancouver park sign replica with the park’s local nickname, Dude Chilling Park.

The city took the sign down in short order, reminding the public that the space is named Guelph Park, but residents responded, effectively saying, “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

A very official looking sign that reads Dude Chilling Park replaced the official City of Vancouver sign at Guelph Park. Jason Payne Jason Payne / PROVINCE

The public outcry led the city to permanently install the sign at the corner of Brunswick Street and East 8th Avenue, where it remains.

The Dude, on the other hand, was removed from his park in 2017 and sent to Denman Island “because it was in sad shape,” according to the Vancouver Art House Society. “Rebar was exposed and the cedar body was decomposing. The city was concerned about safety issues.”

But on Saturday, the iconic sculpture will retake its rightful place in the east Vancouver park with a fresh new look, as a bronze replica is officially unveiled at a special event attended by the artist, as well as civic and Vancouver Park Board officials.

The process of commissioning, shipping and installing a bronze Dude has been an expensive one, and a number of Vancouver organizations and businesses have chipped in to help, including The Vancouver Art House Society, which spearheaded the campaign, 8 1/2 Restaurant Lounge, R & B Brewing (which created a pale ale in The Dude’s honour), The Christopher Foundation and the park board.

As well, the Rio Theatre recently hosted a fundraiser for The Dude with a screening of The Big Lebowski.

Others have done their part too.

“We even know of youngsters in the park who have helped to raise funds with lemonade stand revenues,” The Vancouver Art House Society said Tuesday in a news release.

It’s been a very complicated process. A lotta ins, a lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous, as another famous Dude (also known as His Dudeness, or Duder, or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing) once said.

The Return of The Dude takes place Aug. 17 from noon to 4 p.m., with live music and refreshments, although, sadly, no white Russians. Donations to The Dude’s cause are welcome, as the event’s organizers are still shy of their funding goals.

In the meantime, The Dude will once again abide, and not a moment too soon — he really ties the park together.

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