Monday, September 24, 2018

Councillors vote to remove controversial 'cow sculpture' after Toronto protests

  • Roving Correspondent, Toronto,
    Published: 2017-09-28 00:36:47 BdST


The councillors of Markham city in Greater Toronto Area or GTA have voted to remove a towering chrome cow sculpture from a quiet suburban park after a 'fierce revolt' from local residents, the local media say.

At a meeting of the public development services committee, Markham councillors voted 8-5 to remove the massive sculpture, which was donated to the city free of charge.

The 25ft high public art installation commemorates Brookview Tony Charity, an award-winning local show cow, and is located in the Cathedraltown subdivision near Highway 404 and Elgin Mills Road.

More than a dozen Cathedraltown residents attended the meeting to plead for the sculpture's removal, the CBC News reported.

Several made deputations decrying everything from the cow's height to its "dangerous" features, which they say, are like "daggers and knives."

Markham is one of the 25 municipalities in GTA. Around 20 percent of Markham population is of South Asian background.

However, there was no religious connotation to the residents' protests.

According to CBC, Charity Crescent resident, Vick Lam told the meeting the cow sculpture is "terrifyingly close to his home and that his children are having trouble sleeping at night."

He also complained that the cow's popularity was bringing too much traffic to the quiet street and showed the meeting a photo of "random people selling drinks" to a crowd of cow-watchers.

Another neighbour, Danny Da Silva, told councillors how the tall sculpture dominates views in the neighbourhood and residents feel "powerless in trying to avoid the gaze of the onlooking cow."

"We simply have no place to hide," Da Silva said in his reputation.

The artwork, titled Charity, Perpetuation of Perfection, by sculptor Ron Baird, was donated by prominent local developer Helen Roman-Barber, whose family owned its namesake show cow. 

However, Markham city mayor Frank Scarpitti did not support the motion to remove the sculpture, which he called an "incredible piece of art."

"I don't dismiss there is some impact to the people living there, but quite honestly anything we could have put there would have had as much or maybe worse impact," Scarpitti said after the vote.

It is also not clear when the 25 foot-high statue will be taken down.

City staff will now study alternative locations for the sculpture and report back to council before the end of the year.

Monday's rejection of the sculpture reversed an earlier approval from city council and the neighbourhood's councillor Alan Ho.