Searching for a home for whales

When a giant red oak more than four feet wide at its base toppled in his back yard a dozen years ago, Ken McDonald tried to make the best of a bad situation. After some thought, he came up with an idea for a 3.5 m section of the tree. A crane was called in, the trunk was lifted over the house on Scarborough Road, and McDonald asked his friend, wood carver Livio Veroni, to create something from the tree.

“Ten weeks later it came back, and it was done,” said McDonald. “He’s an incredible sculptor.”

What emerged from the wood was a carving of two whales, a mother and calf, wrapped around each other in a vertical pose.

The work, titled New Life, was reconditioned last year, with cracks filled and varnish reapplied. However, McDonald is now moving. Although he is staying in the Beach, his new home is not large enough to accommodate a giant wooden sculpture of whales. He guesses the cost of moving the monumental piece is into the thousands of dollars, but is willing to give the work free to the city if they are willing to move it. He said he contacted Ward 32 councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon’s office and the mayor’s office, and was referred to the Culture department, but hasn’t heard anything back yet. McDonald still holds out hope that the city might find it worth moving New Life somewhere in the Beach.

“It would be great beside the boardwalk,” he said.

It remains to be seen whether the city will take McDonald up on his offer for the free art; if not, it’s hard to say what will become of New Life. McDonald only hopes he won’t be forced to scrap the wooden whales, a tall symbol of positivity rescued from the unfortunate felling of an iconic Beach oak tree.

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The new Ripley’s Aquarium will be opening in 2013. They may be interested in taking this beautiful sculpture if Mr. McDonald would like to donate it. The aquarium makes it easy to contact them as they have a published number and a marketing contact: Tim O’Brien, VP – Communicationas at the following numbers:
• Office: (615) 646-7465
• Mobile: (615) 496-5949

Might be worth a try.

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