The Bronze Sculpture Capital of Canada has become a golden attraction.
Three years ago Princeton city council approved the production of more than a dozen bronze sculptures as part of its revitalization plan, and now they are proving to be quite the attraction for the community that used to be a quick stop on the trip to Vancouver. Today it is a popular day trip for those seeking something different.
“Our visitor numbers are going up because people are coming here just to do the sculpture walk,” Princeton economic development and tourism director Gary Schatz says. “It’s our number one reason why people come into the visitor centre.”
The number of tourists to Princeton by the end of July represented a 30% increase over any other year, and it has already had more out-of-town visitors than it had in the last two pandemic-affected years combined.
There are now 16 sculptures throughout the downtown area, and more are on the way, including a mountain goat, a golden eagle and five bear cubs. The art pieces reflect the history, wilderness and wildlife that makes Princeton unique. Schatz says the goal is to add a sculpture every year.
“Every animal we have is in this region of British Columbia,” he says, “so we’ve still got plenty of animals to add.”
Visitors to Princeton can do a walking tour of the bronze sculpture loop, which is about a kilometre long and flat. That makes it an accessible attraction for everyone.
“It’s a unique thing,” Schatz says. “We have a couple outside of our office here, and every day I see people with our brochure. Forty degrees last week, and there they are posing with a statue, taking a picture.”
And which sculptures are everyone’s favourite? Well, it depends whom you ask.
“I hear lots of different ones,” Schatz says. “Our German tourists probably like the bears the best. The bears are big in Germany. A lot of people like the moose in front of the visitor centre. Same with the elk at one of our other gateways. When you ask people, you get a whole mix of opinions.”
There are plans to make the sculpture tour even more interactive and appealing to all ages. Postcards featuring pictures of the sculptures are in the planning stages, creating sculpture-related activities for kids is in the works, and Schatz wants technology to be part of the fun as well.
“We’re going to hopefully make these animals come to life, whether that’s through an app or something else,” he says. “I think it’d be neat if you could hold your phone up and all of a sudden the animal turns and growls or does something neat.”
Visit the Town of Princeton website to learn more about the sculptures and everything else the community has to offer.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.
All Think Local Stories