INSIDE ONT. – Along Highway 2, in the Seaway community of Ingleside, Ontario, east of Ottawa, there are two constants.
The first is the panoramic view of the St. Lawrence River.
The second; the rumble of creativity from a neighboring house.
It’s the rumble of a chainsaw, in the hands of a man who has held one for most of his life.
âI was seven or eight years old when I started with a chainsaw,â said RhÃ©al Lalonde.
However, Lalonde, 58, never imagined that he would one day use the tool to shape art.
âI don’t even know how to draw. But I can make a picture with a chainsaw,â he said.
“I love it.”
His chainsaw artistic adventure began at the start of the pandemic during the lockdown.
When each day started to look the same, Lalonde started looking for something different.
“And one day I said to my wife, ‘I’m going to go sculpt with my chainsaw.’ The carvings were pretty good so I kept going, “he said.
For months, as soon as he can, Lalonde has been creating the buzz; sculpt bears, fish, birds, dolphins and more.
âI sculpt all day. On weekends at 10 am the chainsaw starts and it stops after supper,â he said with a smile.
His passion continues to grow, as does his collection of tools.
âWhen I started I had a chainsaw. Now I have three chainsaws,â he laughed.
Lalonde uses a collection of grinders, dremels, and other tools to complement his carvings and add detail.
He’s making a name for himself in the Seaway. People show up at his home in Ingleside to watch. Neighbors and strangers are now RhÃ©al Lalonde collectors.
âNow I know almost everyone from Long Sault to here,â he smiles.
And they are united.
âSometimes I come home and there are logs on my lawn,â the sculptor said with a laugh.
This new adventure has changed the long-time outdoor enthusiast.
“When I was in the car I was looking for deer, now I am looking for logs,” he smiled.
He is excited to shape the logs that help him stay in shape.
“I was playing hockey. Now when you fall on the ice it hurts more than when you were young. I like to do what I do now. I am standing. I do not fall,” he said. said laughing. .
Lalonde’s chainsaw carving dream is to sink your teeth into the most realistic bear sculpture ever.
“You know of one, that if I put it in the bush people would say, ‘Oh, there’s a bear over there.'”
Lalonde is ready to devote the time to get better and better.
His Seaway community can look forward to the roar of his talent for years to come.
âMy dad, who showed me how to use a chainsaw, lived to be 89,â Lalonde said.
“I would love to do this until I’m 89. Even though I’m shaking I can say, ‘Look, I’m doing this.'”
Rheal Lalonde lives at 15654 Manning Drive in Ingleside. He carves on Saturdays and Sundays and welcomes visitors and clients outside his home, as long as they are fully vaccinated and wearing masks.
He can be contacted by email at [email protected]