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Markham cow sculpture on stilts, Charity, on mooove back to its donor
City of Markham wins in court, looks to return statue to Helen Roman-Barber

May 3, 2018
Tim Kelly

The 10-month saga of Markham’s controversial cow sculpture on stilts, Charity, may have reached its final chapter.

The City of Markham said in a statement that Charity’s donor, Helen Roman-Barber, lost an injunction in court May 2 to stop the city from moving the sculpture from its current location in Charity Crescent. As a result, the city said in a statement released that evening that Roman-Barber has decided to accept the sculpture back from the city.

"Helen is still working with the City on details on removal of the statue and doesn’t want to discuss it further until those details are finalized," Ed Shiller, spokesperson for Roman-Barber, said the morning of May 3.

Roman-Barber, who filed a lawsuit several weeks ago in Toronto against the city for $4 million to try to prevent Markham from moving Charity to one of three locations council had chosen, moved earlier this week in court to try to stop the city from moving the statue by May 4. Both sides made arguments before a judge May 1 and his decision was presented May 2, allowing Markham to go ahead with its plans.

Asked if the City of Markham will be responsible for legal costs or the costs of paying to remove the sculpture and return it to the donor, a city representative said the city did not wish to comment at this time.

The city is working on removing the sculpture "as soon as reasonably possible with the assistance of a contractor", but has not confirmed when this will take place, the city said in its statement.

Danny Da Silva, who lives on Charity Crescent, is just relieved the sculpture will soon be gone.

"I’m very thankful the city stuck to their promise they would relocate the cow," said Da Silva.

"I’m just thrilled and very happy about it."

The efforts of the Charity Crescent neighbourhood, which rallied last July and convinced Ward 2 Coun. Alan Ho to lead a protest at council against the sculpture, paid big dividends, Da Silva said.

"We had practically unanimous support from the residents who were affected by this, the folks who face the artwork," he said. "We deal with it day in and day out. We felt we needed to be consulted. We always felt it was good art, bad location."

The entire Charity sculpture episode began last July when the sculpture was installed on Charity Crescent in Cathedraltown to the surprise of nearby residents, who rallied in opposition to it.

The issue made its way to council in the fall of 2017 when, despite approving the installation in 2016, council voted to remove it.