There are many reasons why Castlegar is the official “Sculpture Capital of Canada” and one of the main ones is the fact that for the past decade the city has hosted an annual Sculpture Walk event. Artists from the Kootenay region and beyond have their work displayed in and around the downtown core and visitors and locals alike are encouraged to vote for their favourites on an official ballot. The votes are then counted in October and the winner is purchased by the city to remain on display as part of its permanent collection.

This year there are 31 entries that have been erected around Castlegar and they include everything from an undersea explorer looking through a spyglass to a huge Jacks game set. There’s also a giant honey bee fashioned from mild steel by Castlegar blacksmith and metalworker Lisa Huth called “Plight of the Bee.” She was inspired by this endangered insect that is so vital to our ecosystem and says a portion of the sculpture sale will help support the West Kootenay Beekeepers.

Another sculpture of an animal is called “Vixen” and it’s by Robert Jenner, who was born and raised in Castlegar. Jenner attended the welding program at Selkirk College and now he’s using those skills to create beautiful artwork including the intricately formed stainless steel fox on display in this year’s Sculpture Walk.

One of the more abstract pieces in this year’s event is called “The Webs We Weave” and it’s by artist Rabi’a, who lives in Winlaw in the Slocan Valley, 50 kilometres north of Castlegar. The sculpture features fused glass, dangling within a stainless wire web within fused triangles. Rabi’a is a self-taught artist who learned to weld a number of years ago but didn’t discover her passion for creation until her 60s. she now welds metal sculptures that are often adorned with colourful pain, mosaic tile, and hidden objects to delight the viewer.

Joy Barrett has been the executive director of Sculpture Walk for the past 11 years and she says the idea for the event began with local artist Pat Field who took one of his pieces to a Sculpture Walk in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and liked it so much he pitched a similar annual event in Castlegar. The thinking was that populating the downtown core with different sculptures every year would encourage locals and visitors to stroll and discover the area. And it has!

The first event was held in the city in 2010 and Pat was the executive director for two years and then Joy took over. “Before we started there were maybe two public pieces in Castlegar and now there are over 50,” she says.

To learn more about the annual Sculpture Walk and to download a map and a voting ballot, visit