The Radium Village Arts & Culture Society has launched a fundraising campaign to construct a park in honour of beloved wood carver Rolf Heer.
Heer passed away from cancer in July 2020 and was a local legend in the Columbia Valley.
Heer donated his property in Radium, known as “The Home of a Thousand Faces” due to his sculptures, which are almost entirely carvings of a bearded man’s face in logs, in order to have it be developed into a park.
“This park will be a space for art, for community and for remembering Rolf,” said Valerie Bracken, president of the Radium Village Arts & Culture Society.
Preliminary plans for the park feature green space, play areas for children, and a pavilion shaped as a wizard hat – a nod to Heer’s signature apparel.
The park is being designed by Richard and Valerie Bassett, of Bassett Associates, Landscape Architecture Inc. in Calgary. The couple has a second home in the Columbia Valley and have been inspired by Heer’s eccentric, playful spirit to donate in-kind design services for the park.
Heer’s friends, along with members of the Radium Hot Springs community, have banded together to oversee the development of the park, which will feature a number of Heer’s original wood carvings that still remain after the devastating fire that destroyed his iconic home in November 2018.
The fundraising campaign is seeking community members and corporate sponsors to raise $1.1 million to construct the park. Fundraising will be executed via trusted partnership agreements with the Columbia Valley Community Foundation as well as the Village of Radium.
Construction is expected to begin in 2022.
Heer was 66 when he passed away, having lived in Radium for over 40 years. Originally from Switzerland, he first came to Canada at the age of 21, landing in Montreal before moving to Radium in April 1979 and never looked back.
Known has the wizard who guarded the crack (Sinclair Canyon) in the mountain, Heer was a beloved member of the Columbia Valley who touched the lives of many.