City approves $100K for statue of radio legend

3 mins read
City approves $100K for statue of radio legend

A conceptual drawing and reference photos for a sculpture of Windsor radio legend Rosalie Trombley by local artist Donna Mayne are shown. Photo by Courtesy of Donna Mayne /Windsor Star A bronze statue honouring a Windsor radio pioneer credited with kickstarting the careers of many music superstars will adorn the city’s waterfront next spring. Advertisement 2 This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. Council on Monday unanimously approved $100,000 — interest from the city’s Arts Endowment Capital Project fund — for a life-sized statue of Rosalie Trombley, legendary music director of famed Top 40 radio Station CKLW, also known as The Big 8. Designed and sculpted by Windsor artist Donna Mayne, the statue will depict Trombley in bronze leaning against a monolith number ‘8’ carved in granite. The statue’s proposed location is within the Festival Plaza footprint, and it’s anticipated to be ready for installation by April 2023. “It would not be an overstatement on my part to say that my mom, our mom, is really a legend when it comes to the history of AM Top 40 radio in North America,” said Tim Trombley, son of Rosalie Trombley and current director of entertainment at Caesars Windsor. Advertisement 3 This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. “She led the way, CKLW led the way, in breaking an innumerable number of artists.” Trombley joined The Big 8 as a switchboard operator in 1968. She would later become the station’s music director and was eventually among the organization’s top executives. The small Windsor station’s 50,000-watt signal reached far and wide and, for a time, was one of the most-listened-to stations in North America. Through her programming choices, Trombley was responsible for boosting the careers of musicians who would become household names, including Bob Seger, Alice Cooper, Gordon Lightfoot, The Guess Who, and many more. She became known as the “girl with the golden ear” for her ability to recognize a new hit track. She was given a special achievement award at the 2016 Junos. She died last November at age 82. Advertisement 4 This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. Ward 10 Coun. Jim Morrison, a member of the city’s community public art advisory, said he’s already seen artist Mayne’s “wonderful” clay sculpture. He’s “proud” council chose to move forward with the project. “Public art is something that really enhances our city,” Morrison said. “This will bring back a lot of memories for a lot of people as they come down to Festival Plaza next year.” Ward 6 Coun. Jo-Anne Gignac described Trombley as an “incredible woman,” and said she looks forward to both Mayne’s statue and an eventual display about Trombley at the Chimczuk Museum. “The younger generation is going to learn a lot in terms of how business was done in the music industry,” Gignac said. “It was a cutthroat industry, and if you didn’t have an angel who was going to make sure your music got played, you weren’t going anywhere.” Advertisement 5 This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. In April 2021, Mayne received a $2,000 grant from the city’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund to complete conceptual drawings and a clay study of Trombley. Once complete, Mayne sought to further the project by having the sculpture cast in bronze and publicly displayed with support from the city. St. Clair College, which in 2011 established a scholarship in Trombley’s name, has committed $70,000 to the project. John Fairley, the college’s vice-president of communications and community relations, on Monday told council the college is “just thrilled” to participate in this tribute. “We stand (with this project) as we will stand beside that statue,” Fairley said. Ward 8 Coun. Gary Kaschak called Trombley an “unsung treasure” in Canada. He said he wants the city to do even more to honour her once the statue is complete, like a month-long celebration with tourism events to bring some of the “big names” in music Trombley touched to Windsor. Advertisement 6 This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. “We have an icon, a legend in our community. I think she’s deserving of more than just a statue,” Kaschak said. More On This Topic Bronze statue of local Big 8 radio legend up for council consideration Obituary: Windsor radio legend was ‘girl with the golden ear’ Legendary local radio figure Rosalie Trombley to receive special Juno award When asked by Morrison what the city plans to do to share Trombley’s story and musical legacy with residents, city cultural development co-ordinator Christopher Menard said his team is looking at including an interactive panel with the sculpture. “We’ve looked at technology involving the ability to play music, some of these hits we’ve talked about — the ability to hear some of what Rosalie heard that she then shared with listeners across the airwaves,” Menard said. Those enhancements will be planned in the project’s next phase while staff work out details of the statue’s unveiling. Although council on Monday earmarked $100,000, the city will continue to fundraise and reach out to past partners to see if anyone else would be willing to contribute to the sculpture project. tcampbell@postmedia.com twitter.com/wstarcampbell Sign up to receive daily headline news from the Windsor Star, a division of Postmedia Network Inc. By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300Read More

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