Admiral of the Fleet

Photo of the art Jack Harman, Admiral of the Fleet, 1994
Bronze, Stone

Maffeo Sutton Park

This bronze sculpture is of Frank James Ney (1918-1992) in his pirate costume. Ney was mayor of Nanaimo from 1967-1984 and 1986-1990, serving 21 years overall. He was known for his outgoing personality, his habit of attending civic events dressed up like a pirate, and for playing a central role in initiating the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race starting in 1967. Ney claimed Nanaimo to be “the jewel of the west, the sun porch of Canada, and bathtub capital of the world,” and his pirate costume was his way of promoting the city.

Ney is located in the spot where he had wanted to create a marina, and he faces the direction of the park and not the water to represent the idea that he would never turn his back on the city. The stone base on which the sculpture stands was created from stone quarried from nearby Saysutshun (Newcastle Island), which artist Jack Harman selected and had barged over to Nanaimo.

A miniature 3ft wax version of the statue was created prior to the bronze casting and it was donated to Frank J. Ney School. Over 200 donations from citizens of Nanaimo in a two year period raised approximately $125,000 which was spent on the statue, an upkeep fund, and a Vancouver Island University Scholarship that has been given out annually. The statue was unveiled on July 23, 1994 during Bathtub Weekend.

Jack Harman (1927–2001) was a sculptor based in Vancouver, BC. He taught at Emily Carr College of Art and Design and established the first foundry for bronze sculpture in BC. He was awarded the Order of British Columbia for his public sculpture work in 1996. He is known for his sculpture of Queen Elizabeth II on Parliament Hill and for his work on Reconciliation: The Peacekeeping Monument at the National Gallery. Many of his sculptures have also become well-known landmarks in Vancouver: Olympian Harry Jerome is located in Stanley Park, the Greek Goddess of Justice at the Vancouver Law Courts, and athletes Roger Bannister and John Landy at Empire Field.

Photo by Sean Fenzl Photographer, 2020

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