virginia gail smith

First Capital Realty - Shops of Oakville South - Urban Forest - 2016

January 2016 - Initial Concept - Urban Forest was designed with the intention of being guided by First Capital Realty’s Sustainability Vision of enhancing long-term value by minimizing our impact on the environment and positively affecting the people and the communities in which we live and work. This outdoor nature-like area is alive with a sense of a forest community, of birds and squirrels and shoppers. It is a place to sit and relax and to meet friends.

March 2016 - Short listed and presentation of model - photograph by Gabriel Masewich.

May 2016 - OCADU Grad Ex 101 display

April 19 - Meet with Project Coordinators from FCR and OCDAU. Sign Contract.

Templates at site.

Amourstone arrangements.

Post arrangements.

Height of posts in the space.

May 19- Drop off finished models to casting house. Squirrel model.

To be cast in aluminum.

To be welded to the posts.

Bird model to be cast in aluminum and inserted into the concrete sidewalk.

June 22 - picking up the castings. Chris Boucher, caster left, artist Virginia Gail Smith, and Allan Butters, mould maker/caster, right.

Squirrel mould number 2690.

Chris pouring the aluminum.

Continuous furnace.

July 14 - At fabricators, reviewing elevation  and site plans.

Cast birds and squirrels ready for welding and powder coating.

Squirrel ready for welding.

Bird ready for welding.

Delivering the 20' posts.

Welding and grinding end caps and birds.


Waiting for final grinding and cutting. Then ready for shipping for powder coating.

July 15 - Amourstone cut and ready for shipping to installer's yard.

Seating ready for installation.

July 24 - Wrapped after powder coating.

Setting up the alignments for the welding of the aluminum base to be set in concrete.

Welding the Base structure.

Setting up the posts into the aluminum base structure.

Adding another post.

The final post and arranging of animals. Then welding to the frame.

Posts were resting awaiting crane loading on the truck.

Birds and floating arm for concrete installation.

July 26 - Cutting sidewalk, early morning.


Removal of sidewalk and compacted earth and rock.

Sculpture arrives at site at noon.

Setting into place.

Fits perfectly!

The concrete pour at 2:45 pm. 

Removing the protective paper.

Smoothing out the concrete.

Birds and river stones inserted into the concrete.

5 pm, end of day one of installation.

Amourstone seating is removed from the truck. Each stone is marked with its weigh about 2000 lbs. The front stone is glued to the sidewalk so it does not wobble. The others do not need gluing.

Two rocks are placed together so there is adjusting for a proper match. 

Placements are made according to the slope of the sidewalk and the slope of the top surfaces of the seating.

Placement is adjusted as areas of the stone protrude and it is essential to have adequate wheelchair clearance.

The five seating rocks have been placed.

Now that the rocks are set you can see the posts are two different colours.

The birds and posts have been cleaned.

The plaque is already up.

End of day two, completion. Urban Forest is open.

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