Looking back, this artificial island reminds me of the constructed island at Walton that I sketched in my notebook from my bedroom window.
Reflecting on my travels, my journey has been fruitful, but I am uneasy. I have gained insight into Andrew Downs’ zoological gardens, and I have a better understanding of his design intentions, but the menagerie at the Jardin des Plantes impacted me. The 18th century animal structures were both considerate and delusional. I thought of Andrew Downs’ enterprise on the North West Arm, and wondered about the proprietor himself. How did he shelter his animals, and why did he need to house them in the first place? Wasn’t Halifax a city nestled within a wilderness? Wouldn’t there have been wildlife nearby without a zoo? Was Andrew Downs delusional too?
After leaving the zoo I encountered another island of sorts, looming from the gravel walkways and offering a retreat from my thoughts. There emerged a carousel, floating a menagerie of its own— a menagerie of extinct or perishing wildlife gently bobbing up and down.
The Dodo Manège carousel was created and painted by Jean-Jacques Harel.