Writing to You is a cast bronze sculptural art installation located on Beatty Street, south of Dunsmuir in Vancouver’s downtown core. At one end of this small park, adjacent to the BC Regiment’s Beatty Street Drill Hall, sits a military trunk with two pages of a letter left out for passers-by to read. It is from a military wife separated from her husband by war.

At the other end of the park is a kitchen table, another letter left out for curious eyes to spy. This one is from an absent soldier. Her husband.

The art installation is the creation of Yvonne Lammerich and Ian Carr-Harris, Toronto-based artists.

The inspiration for this art is the incredible collection of correspondence between Major Lloyd Augustus of the BC Regiment, and his wife Mary. They exchanged more than 800 letters during World War II, and it is said they wrote to each other daily.

The distance between the sculptures is symbolic of the geographic and psychological distance between the couple during wartime. The ground under the trunk is fractured, and under the kitchen table it is tiled, stable and solid. The walk between the two pieces is sombre. The rain didn’t help lighten the effect either. I must return at night to see the piece lit up. The letterforms are illuminated from behind and spotlights on the property illuminate the trunk and table. It would bring this installation to life in a way not expressed in the grey wet of a January afternoon when we visited it.

This is a powerful piece of public art that any lover of sculpture – or letters – should visit. Here’s a map.

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