Explorations and Excavations: the Lights and Shadows of Gatineau Park
Paintings by John F. Marok/Texts by Jean-Paul Murray
I’ve chosen the subject of Gatineau Park because it’s filled with contradictions, with lights and shadows… We’re told the park is “the jewel in the Crown of Canada’s capital,” or, more bleakly that “it’s dying the death of a thousand cuts” due to road building, residential construction and removal of park land behind closed doors. Thanks to Gatineau Park sentinel Jean-Paul Murray, I’ve become more aware of these contradictions by seeing them with my own eyes. I’ve also become familiar with the story of Gatineau Park founder Roderick Percy Sparks, and how his vision has been corrupted. No one can doubt that Meech Lake is the show piece of Gatineau Park for its sheer natural beauty; yet, who can possibly turn a blind eye to the massive homes being built in what is called “the Capital’s ‘Conservation’ Park?” By examining several of Gatineau Park’s magnificent landscapes with a critical eye, and by highlighting some of its contradictions, I hope to convey both the fragility and beauty of the natural world, as well as the need to protect it as a moral and spiritual force in the lives of those who enjoy it.