Statue of the great jockey Avelino Gomez by sculptor Siggy Puchta.
Siegfried Rudolf Puchta
Born: October 28, 1933 (Germany)
Died: February 24, 2015
Siggy Puchta was a sculptor whose lifesize bronze statue of the jockey Avelino Gomez can be found at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. He was responsible for creating several other sports-related statues and trophies.
The German-born sculptor fled Soviet-occupied East Germany after the way, immigrating to Canada in 1953 at age 20. He taught woodworking at colleges in Ontario and in 1965 was accepted into the Sculptors Society of Canada.
He had international exhibitions in México, Poland, Portugal, the Bahamas and the United States.
In 1983, he won the commission to honour Gomez, the Cuban-born jockey who died from complications following a spill during a race at Woodbine three years earlier.
He won other noteworthy sporting-themed commissions in his career, including the trophy for the Calgary Cup Games, a pre-Olympic tournament, which was designed to look like the Saddledome. He also designed the Marilyn Bell Award, which is named for the girl swimmer who conquered Lake Ontario in 1954.
Puchta also created the statue of Ted Rogers outside the Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome), also in Toronto. The 800-pound statue includes on its base a quote from the telecommunications entrepreneur, who was responsible for the Toronto Blue Jays franchise remaining in Toronto. It reads: “The best is yet to come.”
Puchta is perhaps best known for two other Toronto statues, memorials for fallen Ontario police officers and for firefighters, both located at Queen’s Park.