Sebastiano Aiello (1908-1987) was a prolific sculptor who founded his own company, Sebastiano Aiello Inc., in 1927. This family company is still in operation today. Mr. Aiello created sculptures for an impressive number of churches and public and private buildings, including the art deco sculptures at Montréal’s Central Station and those at the Post Office building in Québec City, which is the largest coat of arms in Canada.
Sebastiano Aiello was the sculptor who was responsible for the majestic armorial lions that adorn the façades of the post office buildings in Hamilton and London (Ontario), as well as the fountain at Montréal’s Botanical Garden. He was in charge of the façade for the Bank of Canada building in Ottawa, the library at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and The Globe and Mail building in Toronto. Mr. Aiello also sculpted the pulpit at Christ Church Anglican Cathedral in Montréal and the statues of the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph above the side altars at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Edmundston.
This is only a small sampling of Sebastiano Aiello’s list of accomplishments, which is extensive. On the strength of his reputation, Mr. Aiello arrived in Moncton at the beginning of May 1940, accompanied by another Italian sculptor whose name was not recorded in the public documents that are available from that time. The social order stipulated that the work has already begun, and they must work on site, “on stone blocks already solidly anchored in the façade of the Cathedral. Thanks to the talent of the expert sculptors, these unformed blocks will be transformed into magnificent statues in a few months.”
In addition to creating exterior sculptures, Sebastiano Aiello and his colleague sculpted coats of arms on the wall in the choir section and in certain places on the Belgian black marble staircase in the sanctuary. On the east side, we find the coats of arms used at the time by Université Saint-Joseph in Memramcook (1864), Collège Sainte-Anne in Pointe-de-l’Église, Nova Scotia (1890) and Collège Sacré-Cœur in Bathurst (1899). They also sculpted coats of arms of the congregation of Les Filles de Marie-de-l’Assomption (1922), which was founded by Msgr. L.-J.-Arthur Melanson in Campbellton, and those of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (1924) on the wall in the choir section on the west side. These elements are tied together by a frieze in the form of two elaborate and delicately sculpted garlands of maple leaves and daisies.