The Courier

A wooden statue of Wolverine, the popular Marvel Comics hero, now stands outside the Cold Lake Museums – Photo by Mike Marshall

There’s a new addition to the Cold Lake Museums, one who has long ties to the Cold Lake area.

On Tuesday afternoon, Jonjo Nally delivered his wooden statue of Wolverine to the museums, who’s legend states that he got his start in the area. The figure, carved out of ponderosa pine, now sits on a pedestal near the main entrance.

Artist Jonjo Nally cleans the claws on the new Wolverine statue in front of the Cold Lake Museums – Photo by Mike Marshall

According to comic book lore, Wolverine (aka James Howlett) was born on a farm somewhere near the Cold Lake region before he became the famous mutant superhero. Nally, an artist who calls British Columbia home, says his love of the character pushed him to try his hand at creating the statue.

“He is Canada’s number one superhero, and not only is he Canada’s number one superhero, he is from Alberta, and reportedly not far away from here as well. So Cold Lake is one of the few places up north that’s been around since the 1800s. And it does fit his story quite well, especially with the military base because he was in the Canadian military.”

Nally says the idea to link up with the museums and have his work showcased came from networking in the community.

“It was Tanya [Boudreau] from the Cold Lake Library. She’s been really interested in this project right from the beginning, and she works for the local paper as well,” explains Nally. “We have just been hammering things out and scheming with Tanya; she knew who to talk to here. With her encouragement, I sent [Cold Lake Museums] a letter, and they said yes. They said that they’ll have to have a vote, which they did, and it was unanimous. So here we are.”

Wolverine stands over six feet tall on his new platform and comes complete with his famous claws. Nally says the process of creating the likeness can be described as “methodical”.

Cold Lake Air Force Museum Chair Major Kael “Kato” Rennie, artist Jonjo Nally, Cold Lake Museums Society President Chris Holoboff, Curatorial Assistant Heidi Gardiner (Cold Lake Museums), Curatorial Manager Linda Dunn (Cold Lake Museums) , in front: Curator Wanda Stacey (Cold Lake Air Force Museum) – Photo by Mike Marshall

“I do a lot of drawings. I’ve got little plastic models for the perspective and for positioning. Once I get to the pose that I want locked down, it’s just using big chain saws, and then getting smaller and smaller, until all the details are in place.”

This isn’t the first time one of Nally’s sculptures has made its way to Cold Lake. In the summer of 2020 a different rendition of Wolverine was showcased at the north branch of the Cold Lake Library.

“At the time, I wanted to see if I could do it, and then once I did it; I said ‘Okay, let’s see if we can do one with claws’, because there were no claws [for the library statue]. I think it’s important that we display him as he’s famously known to have his claws out.”

“Wolverine is a fun and exciting addition to our grounds here at the Cold Lake Museums,” expresses Cold Lake Air Force Museum Curator Wanda Stacey. “He will preside over our family picnic area, looking out over a spectacular vista of Cold Lake and the Cold Lake Bike Park below. Visitors will be able to take photos with this superhero sentinel year round, and have another great memory of their visit to our museum. We are so thankful to Jonjo Nally for this wonderful gift.”

Nally says he hopes guests of the museums enjoy a visit with Wolverine whenever they stop by.

“It’s nice to have something that everybody can agree on. I think having a Wolverine in Alberta is something that we can all agree is awesome.”


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