Community has a cow over stain­less steel statue

Coun­cil­lors will meet this month to reach a com­pro­mise that ap­peases the lo­cal res­i­dents

Richmond Hill Post - - News - by Macken­zie Pat­ter­son

The statue of Char­ity, Ro­man­dale Farm’s prizewin­ning Hol­stein cow, has been a source of con­tro­versy in the small sub­di­vi­sion of Cathe­dral­town since it was erected in June. Stand­ing nine me­tres high, the stain­less steel cow is propped up on stilts, mak­ing it rather hard to miss, es­pe­cially for the res­i­dents of Char­ity Cres­cent — the cow’s name­sake street, which wraps around a small ur­ban park.

Erected by Helen Ro­man-Bar­ber, the statue was in­spired by a real cow named Char­ity, pur­chased in 1985 by Ro­man-Bar­ber’s fa­ther and the owner of Ro­man­dale Farm, Stephen Ro­man. She com­mis­sioned lo­cal artist Ron Baird to cre­ate the sculp­ture to com­mem­o­rate Char­ity and the his­tory of the land.

Baird’s web­site show­cases his other works, which are also mostly large-scale stain­less steel sculp­tures propped up on stilts or tall poles. The de­scrip­tion for Char­ity’s sculp­ture reads, “Made from sur­gi­cal grade stain­less-steel pol­ished to a mir­ror fin­ish to re­sist the ele­ments, she sparkles in the sun and re­flects all the colours of the sky and grass around her.”

Ed Shiller, Helen Ro­man-Bar­ber’s spokesper­son, said the statue is his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant for the area as it re­flects Char­ity Cres­cent’s pros­per­ous past.

“At the time she was the world’s most pro­duc­tive dairy cow ever. I don’t know whether that record’s been bro­ken now or not, but cer­tainly she ranks among the top dairy cows in the world ever,” he said. “Char­ity also rep­re­sents the eco­nomic roots of Markham, and those roots con­trib­uted to the growth of Markham to­day as a very pros­per­ous city and in­dus­try.” How­ever, many Cathe­dral­town res­i­dents have op­posed the statue since be­fore it was erected. “Some peo­ple found it of­fen­sive be­cause it’s like you’re prais­ing or pray­ing to a cow,” said Tammy Armes, co-chair of the Cathe­dral­town Community Ratepay­ers As­so­ci­a­tion. “It’s just too high. It looks awk­ward, and it’s just an eye­sore.”

Next month, the res­i­dents might get their un­ob­structed sky­line back: Markham City Coun­cil has in­ter­vened. In Septem­ber, Ward 3 coun­cil­lor Alan Ho, whose ward in­cludes Char­ity Cres­cent, and re­gional coun­cil­lor Nir­mala Arm­strong will sit down with Ro­man-Bar­ber to try to reach a com­pro­mise on whether to re­move the cow, re­lo­cate it or bring it closer to ground be­fore the Markham City Coun­cil de­vel­op­ment ser­vices com­mit­tee

Char­ity, the dairy cow and stain­less steel not-so-prized Hol­stein of Char­ity Cres­cent

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