Garry MacDougall purchased the painting at an auction of Canadian art at the Bay Shore Inn, an upscale hotel in Vancouver, around 1980. The sale included works by Emily Carr, Alex Colville, Robert Bateman, the Group of Seven and more, but the Stanfield portrait was his only purchase that day.
MacDougall was raised in Nova Scotia and remembers his father had a lot of respect for Stanfield.
“I purchased the painting because I truly admired the Rt. Hon. Robert L. Stanfield for all the good things he and his family did for Nova Scotia and Canada,” he said. “He was my political hero growing up and continues to be today.”
When he was a child he saw Stanfield in Port Hawkesbury during an election campaign, when he ran against Pierre Trudeau.
“I was just a little boy but I got to shake his hand and I remember what a gentle man he was,” he said.
The painting had been hanging in the den at MacDougall’s home, and was part of many discussions with friends and family.
Although he has enjoyed having the work of art in his home in Coquitlam, he felt it was time to share it with others.
“I would like more people to see it, and because he’s from Truro, I thought it should be there,” he said. “Hopefully, other Nova Scotians will get the same enjoyment out of viewing the painting as I did.”
Truro Mayor Bill Mills said plans are to hang it in the town administration office, next to a charcoal portrait of Stanfield created by Anna Fullerton and purchased by the town during the 2015 Art Acquisition Show.
The painting measures 15-in. by 19-in. and a handwritten note on the back says it is to Franklin and (possibly) Linda from H. MacDonald. It’s dated Oct. 2, 1968. The piece is signed by Hazel McDonald but no information has been found about her.