Photograph by Wendy Shirran
John Cabot Monument
by Hans Melis
John Cabot Municipal Park, Bonavista
Bonavista, NL A0C 1B0
"O buona vista!" were Cabot's first words when he set eyes on North America in 1497. The Provincial Government erected the statue of John Cabot at Landfall Municipal Park (a designated National Historic Site) in 1971 to commemorate Cabot's landfall. Another copy of Melis' Cabot statue is in front of the Confederation Building in St. John's. An urban legend tells us that the Cabot statue in Bonavista has a "repaired chest" due to a gunshot "wound," distinguishing the two statues!
Hans Melis was born in the Netherlands in 1925. He studied at the Academies of Fine Arts in The Hague, Munich and Dresden. He emigrated to Canada in the 1958 and became the official sculptor of Newfoundland during the Smallwood government, in the 1960s and 1970s.