Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mystery of the Missing Totem Pole

The installation of a 15 foot totem pole in Morningside Park was intended to be an event, not an adventure and a mystery. The Pole was a creation of the Monarch Park Project by Mr. Dorsey, part of an effort to beautify our parks and is the second Totem to be raised in the City. The project was completed with the assistance of 30 youths from the Malvern community.

The totem was built in a collaborative effort between the Toronto and the Regional Conservation Authority, the Scarborough Arts Counsel, Dorcey (a professional sculptor) and the students from Malvern. The magnificent totem pole was made from a recycled hydro pole gracefully carved from top to bottom. The first totem had been created back in 2004 as part of the Monarch Project, an attempt to involve youths in artistic and environmental initiatives to improve the community.

However, the day before the Pole was to be raised, it went missing. The theft of the pole outraged the community and made headlines in all the Toronto papers. To loose this work of art after so much time and attention had been lavished on its creation, was heart-breaking. How such a large object could have been spirited out of the Park was a mystery. Police speculated that it would have taken six people and a truck to remove the pole. Fortunately the truth proved much simpler than that once the mystery was solved. It had just been rolled into some distant bushes and was later found by two Toronto residents who had strolled off the Park's main pathway.

At over 416 acres, Morningside is by far the largest park in West Hill and one of the most beautiful and interesting in the City of Toronto. Connecting to the University of Toronto grounds and Col. Danforth park, it forms part of a continuous trail all the way to Lake Ontario. Through the summer months, the Park is regularly visited by numerous Community, Church and Scout groups, families, and sports organizations. Although the totem was erected at the end of the third parking lot, due to the vastness of the park, and despite the size of the pole, the totem is easily missed. Although not deliberately hidden now, to be seen, it still needs to be found.

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