When I was little I thought there was a mermaid perched on a rock almost 100 feet from the Sea Wall in Stanley Park. As it turns out one of the most recognizable marine landmarks in this city, the statue Girl in Wetsuit, actually does have a mermaid involved in her history.
A life size bronze statue of a woman in a wetsuit, with flippers on her feet and her mask pushed up on her forehead, sits on a large intertidal boulder just offshore of Stanley Park. In September of 1968, Douglas Brown, a Vancouver lawyer, talked to sculptor Elek Imredy about his desire to commission a sculpture inspired by the famous Copenhagen mermaid, which could be sited on the great granite boulder just off the northern shore of Stanley Park. [City of Vancouver]
The “Little Mermaid” in Copenhagen is in fact fashioned after the fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen. We may know her better as Ariel with an endearing yet annoying guppy friend Flounder. It’s hard to imagine that in a roundabout way our Girl in Wetsuit has that Disney connection.
To top it off, the original “Little Mermaid” statue in Denmark was commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen of Carlsberg Lager.
If you put all the pieces together, our little seagull-stained Girl in Wetsuit sits perched on her rock on the north shore of Stanley Park, near the bridge erected by Guinness and resembling a statue for Carlsberg.
Although I may get Under the Sea stuck in my head the next time I walk by, at least I’ll be inspired to go drink some beer.