William Hodd ("Bill") McElcheran

The Conversation, 1981


Location: Stephen Avenue, in front of the Hudson’s Bay

Donated to the City in 1981 by Norcen Energy Resources.

Bill McElcheran was born in 1927 in Hamilton, Ontario, where he passed away in 1999. He completed his studies at the Ontario College of Art (now the Ontario College of Art and Design University). In 1973 he established his own firm, Deaduls Designs, which specialized in integrating sculptures into the design of buildings.

These voluminous sculptures are part of the artist’s The Businessman Series and are one of the most beloved works in the city of Calgary. Cast in bronze, portrayed here are characters from the world of finance in deep conversation. Outfitted in their business attire (dress coat, tie, hat and briefcase) one man is amicably gesturing his opinion while the other businessman is reassuring him that he understands his point of view.

As noted by Bill McElcheran:  My business man replaces the classical hero. All the classical artists were dealing with the heroic and how they could find images larger than life. I, on the other hand, am trying to find my image for the larger-than-life hero in the non-hero…I guess that Calgarians know these guys too, and because they are full of Western hospitality, Calgarians welcome a couple of bronze fellows having a long conversation in front of the Hudson’s Bay Company store.

His works figure in numerous public and corporate collections across Canada: Art Gallery of Hamilton; McMichael Canadian Art Collection; Robert McLaughlin Gallery; Art Gallery of Windsor; Norcen Energy Resources; Toronto Stock Exchange; Canadian lmperial Bank of Commerce; Royal Bank of Canada; Oklahoma Arts Center; Ondaatje Corporation; Foothills Hospital, Calgary, to name a few.