'Moooove' it: Residents have beef over giant cow statue
Josh K. Elliott, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, July 27, 2017 9:05AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 27, 2017 1:35PM EDT
Residents of a Markham, Ont. neighbourhood are saying “boo,” not “moo,” to a giant silver cow statue recently erected on stilts outside their homes.
The $1.2-million chrome cow towers over a tiny semicircle-shaped parkette on Charity Crescent in Markham, a community north of Toronto, where it’s clearly visible from the windows of 19 homes surrounding it. The carefully sculpted, realistic-looking cow has a large, thorny-looking wreath of metal maple leaves around its neck, and is meant to pay tribute to a prize-winning cow raised by one of the area’s historic founders.
The cow was built earlier this month, and it’s already drawing a trickle of tourism from people looking to see it.
But the unexpected, unwelcome addition to the parkette has locals angry, with some particularly annoyed that they’re on the wrong end of the bovine monstrosity.
“We have a perfect view of the cow’s butt,” one woman told CTV Toronto.
Homeowner Danny Da Silva cited numerous potential issues with the cow, such as neighbourhood aesthetics, safety and its potential effect on property values.
He added that it’s bizarre to see a giant chrome cow idol in the middle of the Cathedraltown neighbourhood, which is named for the nearby Cathedral of the Transfiguration that towers over the area.
“We’ve all seen ‘The Ten Commandments,’ and know what the raising of a calf is, and it’s just not a good thing, especially in Cathedraltown,” he said.
The 1956 film featuring Charleton Heston includes a scene in which Moses’ Israelites, during a period of hedonism, fashion a giant gold calf to worship. Moses shows up in the middle of their party and smashes the freshly written 10 Commandment tablets upon seeing how far his people have strayed from God.
The Markham cow was donated by the heirs of the late Stephen Roman, a former mining tycoon and Slovakian immigrant who financed the construction of the nearby cathedral. Roman also owned Brookview Tony Charity, the prize-winning cow on which the statue is based. The park where the statue was built is on Charity Crescent, which was named for the cow.
“The City of Markham is pleased to announce the installation of a statue ‘Brookview Tony Charity’ to commemorate an internationally award-winning Holstein cow that was raised on Romandale Farm,” says the inscription on a plaque included with the statue.
Statue supporter Ed Shiller suggests Cathedraltown wouldn’t exist without the successes of Stephen Roman and his cow, Charity.
“Charity really represents a significant part of the history of this community,” Shiller said. “It’s animals like Charity that enabled this community to be built.”
Coun. Alan Ho, who represents the Cathedraltown area, says he seconded a motion to accept the statue as an art donation to the city. He said the donor explicitly wanted the statue built in the parkette on Charity Crescent, although he acknowledges that the “location may be a problem.”
City council notes show the statue proposal was accepted on Apr. 13, 2016, with the caveat that the donor “be responsible for alternate installation if the stilt platform is not feasible.”
But resident Danny Da Silva says he’d prefer to see the statue put out to pasture altogether.
“Moooove the cow,” he said. “Let’s find a new home for it.”
With files from CTV Toronto