A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[PHOTO] U.V. Ceti by Andrew Posa, ten years later

I visited the Andrew Posa 1982 sculpture U.V. Ceti, poised in the middle of a temporarily quiet fountain, last night.

U.V. Ceti, by Andrew Posa #toronto #wellingtonstreet #stlawrence #uvceti #andrewposa #sculpture

It had been ten years since I had last paid particular attention to that statue, attracted by its name the astronomical reference to nearby flare star Luyten 726-8 B.

Front view of UV Ceti, 30 Wellington Street East

Sculptor Andrew Posa chose the name UV Ceti, this Flickr photo and commentary suggests, because it was an obscure astronomical name. I’m a bit sad that I didn’t photograph the message in garbled Hungarian that’s apparently written inside the statue.

This statue was dedicated to one Edward Isaac Richmond, 1908-1982, “A kind man who shared his love of beauty.” A quick googling turns up this 2007 article from The Globe and Mail, which reveals Edward Isaac Richmond to have been an architect of note.

Frank Richmond remembers the time his father, architect Edward Isaac Richmond, heard about a unique house party where guests were handed sledgehammers with their drinks and encouraged to take a few swipes at whatever struck their fancy. It was an old house, and the architect who’d purchased it was having it bulldozed the next day in order to build something new.

“My father was so upset by this because he viewed a home as almost a holy place,” Mr. Richmond says. “When you demolish a building, there had to be a degree of respect.”

[. . .]

The architect’s own striking 1948 home, which he occupied until just before his death in 1982 at age 73 (and where son Frank lived until 1998), is right where he left it at 37 Burton Rd. And while it may have been a shocker to frill-obsessed, WASPy, postwar Toronto, his practice flourished. “That home got replicated in hundreds of different kinds of iterations [post-1948 and] for the next 15-odd years,” his son confirms.

Perhaps that’s because the 1931 University of Toronto graduate, one of the first Jewish architects in Toronto — if not the very first, his son suggests — had many Jewish clients eager to eliminate painful reminders of the old world, even architectural ones.

In a career that lasted a half-century, Ed Richmond worked on the old Mount Sinai hospital on Yorkville Avenue (a part of its façade is currently undergoing restoration and will be incorporated into a condo) during a short-lived partnership with Ben Kaminker in the early thirties. By the seventies, he was designing high-rise towers, including Palace Pier 1 on the Etobicoke waterfront.

The John Warkentin book Creating Memory: A Guide to Public Outdoor Sculpture in Toronto says this of this statue: “The sculpture reveals fundamental natural forces: within this maelstrom something new is occurring, possibly the beginning of a civilization. It is a much more substantial sculpture than is found in most late-twentieth century Toronto condominiums.”

Written by Randy McDonald

April 24, 2019 at 10:30 am

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