Public Artwork

Fable VII

Trevor Gould, Fable VII, 1989
Trevor Gould, Fable VII, 1989
City Hall, 111 Lisgar Street, Ottawa, ON, K1P 1J1, Canada
Artwork creator(s): 
Gould, Trevor
Text author(s): 
Author Unknown
Installation year: 
Remarks on location: 

The four parts of the artwork are installed in the courtyard and the rotunda.


Fable VII consists of three parts: the indoor writing, a bronze component in the outdoor pool and the lion in its frame.

The work establishes a reciprocal action between interior and exterior space, creating a dialogue between the architecture of the surrounding buildings. While the bronze frame evokes a sundial, the component located in the pool constantly animates the surroundings, offering notions of constant renewal through sunlight and directional alignment.

To complete Fable VII, local artist Philip Fry created a landscaped garden with hybrid lowbrush blueberries, local pink spirea and granite stones, arranged so as to evoke the shape of animals at rest.

Text of the artwork: 



Text theme: 
© City of Ottawa
Artwork theme: 
The lion, monarchist power, African and American origins and identity of the artist
Installation in 1989.



The artist was inspired by the 7th La Fontaine Fable (Penguin publication), in which the lion king is the main character. Philip Fry said that the number attributed to this fable varies: the Jean-Pierre Collinet French publication, La Cour du lion, is numbered Fable VI, Book VII. (Fry, Philip, 1993. Trevor Gould. Inventing a Homeland, Ottawa: The Gallery at Arts Court / La Galerie à la Cour des Arts, p. 55).


Translation of the writing ("Ex Oriente Lux"): La lumière vient de l'Est / Out of the East comes light.


The writing "Ex Oriente Lux" is written on a window. The phrase "MADE IN THE AMERICAS 1989" is written on the side of the bronze lion.


The left side of the lion is made of bronze, the right side, of aluminum. The two sculptural elements (frame near the lion and the one in the pool) are made of bronze.


The artist expected visitors to discover the indoor pool, in the main hall, and to find the phrase "Ex Oriente Lux" (Out of the East comes Light) on the stained glass. From that point, the outdoor pool enters the field of vision, followed by the lion and the frame.

City of Ottawa

Trevor Gould. Inventing a Homeland

Fry, Philip, Louis Cummins (1993).  Trevor Gould. Inventing a Homeland. Ottawa : The Gallery at Arts Court/La Galerie à la Court des arts, p. 94