Amid a heated controversy across North American cities over the toppling of historical monuments, a statue of cow in Markham has also become the front and centre in the city council’s debate, writes columnist Bob Mok.
You may have heard of cows on steroids (to make them muscular) but probably not “a cow on stilts”. Around Markham, we have now a cow on stilts that stirred up controversy in the City Council and captured the curiosity of many from surrounding areas to come and see the item for themselves and take selfies with it.
The statue on stilts is “Charity”, a nine-time all-Canadian or All-American show cow. Never defeated in her class, she was said to be the most productive milking cow in the world in the 1980s. The $1.2 million statue is installed at eleven metres (over three storeys) above the centre of a residential crescent’s park in Cathedral Town Community. The cow wears a bronze-leafed wreath and towering over the trees.
捐赠这头塑像的罗曼家族是大教堂社区的地产开发商。尽管有人投诉，罗曼家族坚持要把塑像放在那。罗曼先生是来自斯洛伐克的移民，当年经营采矿业而积累了家族财富。他还拥有Romandale农场，并把它开发为大教堂住宅社区。罗曼家族1985年从安省Port Perry时的农场花$145万买下了这个头名叫Brookview Tony Charity的着名牛，创当时奶牛价格的新高。
The Roman family who donated the cow statue to the site after developing the Cathedral town neighbourhood and insisting it remain there despite local complaints. Stephen Boleslav Roman came to Canada from Slovakia and built the family fortune from the Mining business. He also owned Romandale Farm, the land on top of which Cathedral town now rests and bought the famed cow named Brookview Tony Charity from a farm in Port Perry in 1985 for a then-record $1.45 million.
今年6月，落成后的奶牛塑像却引起了居民的反感。有些房主认为这个“有碍观瞻”的塑像会影响自己房屋的价值。 “有碍观瞻”的东西，从电信转播塔，水塔到垃圾转运站，经常会影响房屋的价值。"慈善"每天吸引了200多人前来餐馆，同时给周围交通带来不便。 由于有些“游客”在与塑像合影前抚摸高跷，万锦市府在"慈善"的周围立起了栏杆，把“慈善”与游人隔离。同时还做了一个牌子，叙述这头名牛的故事，同时告诫大家相应的园艺项目会在今年9月份完成。
Once the statue was installed in June, the residents reacted negatively to it. Homeowners are concerned the “eyesore” will diminish the value of their homes. “Eyesores” often affect the value of a house, from cell phone and water towers to retail dumpsters. The statue also attracted up to 200 people a day to the site, creating necessary traffic in the area. The “tourists” walked up to the posts and touching them while taking pictures of themselves with the statue in the background. The city of Markham has since put up a fence barricade to protect “Charity” from the crowds. A sign has also been installed, telling the famous cow’s story and advising that the landscaping around it will be completed in September.
The unhappy residents approached their local councillor Alan Ho, who voted last year to approve the chrome-plated statue and asked for the statue to be removed. Councillor Ho was on record in Council meeting as the one who seconded Councillor Logan Kanapathi's motion to accept the statue donation and installation in 2016. Ho was in a huge backtrack mode and urged the angry residents to gather a petition opposing the artwork and to head to council at its first meeting in September to tell elected officials exactly what they think. He also insisted the donation cost the City of Markham and taxpayers nothing but the opposing residents were not impressed.
Many newspapers reported that the motion to accept the statue was passed unanimously in June 2016. This is simply not true! It was not a recorded vote and there was opposition to the motion. After this statue made the news, it was revealed that councilors were never told the public art committee didn’t want the cow and allegedly the staff at City Hall had withheld information from the Council members. The staff told councilors that Council normally approves recommendations from advisory committees. However, the attached minutes from the art committee only showed the staff endorsement, and did not include two other meetings where committee members expressed opposition to the project and rejected it.
A plaque installed at the site reads: “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 Farms.” This infers that the cow was raised locally at the farm which now forms the Cathedral town Community and lend credence and justifications for its erection at the current site. Unfortunately, this claim was immediately disputed by a credible source and further adds fuel to the discontenting fire started by the residents.
Next time, we will elaborate on this new story and update you with the latest related developments.
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