There will now be a dog — a giant Belgian shepherd — smiling down from among the portraits of lieutenant-governors gracing the halls of Queen’s Park.
It seems Ado, one of three dogs of former Lt.-Gov. James Bartleman — the only one who would sit still for painter Cyril Leeper — is there to keep his master company if he ends up haunting the halls of the Legislature as a ghost, in the whispered tradition of one long-dead vice-regal, Bartleman admitted yesterday at the unveiling of his portrait before the Premier and several former lieutenant-governors.
“If I have to wander the halls of Queen’s Park forever, I want to have one of my dogs with me and be in this building together,” said the man who was the first Ontario aboriginal to represent the Queen. His string of literacy drives have sent two million children’s books to remote reserves across this province’s vast woodlands.
Current Lt.-Gov. David Onley noted yesterday he has launched a follow-up drive for new children’s books people can drop off at any police station until June 21 — National Aboriginal Day.
It’s also the first formal portrait whose subject is sporting a fringed buckskin jacket — the coat of a chief, a gift from the fly-in community of Sandy Lake.
“This is just as formal (in First Nations culture) as the formal dress jackets you’ll see in the other portraits,” noted Bartleman.