Vandals have once again damaged a cenotaph outside Malvern Collegiate.
Designed by sculptor Emanuel Hahn, the 1922 cenotaph honours 25 Malvern students who died in the First World War. It features a statute of a young man raising a broken chain in one hand, and holding a sword in the other.
Security camera footage shows vandals removing the “blade” of that sword at about 4 a.m. on Saturday, August 23. Staff and students only noticed the damage when the school reopened this week.
“It hasn’t just hurt the school – it hurts the community as a whole,” said Malvern principal Diane Sharpe.
Led by Malvern alumni, but including others from across the Beach, a local campaign raised half the funds for a $44,000 restoration of the cenotaph in 2011.
Less than two days after that restoration was done, vandals wrapped the statue in blue duct tape, breaking off some of its lettering as they climbed it. The damage cost a further $2,000 to repair.
“The good part is, the last time there was vandalism, money was also raised to put more cameras on the cenotaph,” Sharpe said. Footage from three cameras has been sent to local police at 55 Division, who are now investigating the crime.
While the cenotaph has been a frequent target for pranks in the past – painting, egging, being dressed in rival schools’ colours – Sharpe said it hadn’t been touched since the 2011 restoration.
Given the school’s long military tradition and this year’s 100th anniversary of the First World War, Sharpe said the vandalism is especially upsetting not only to her, but also to Malvern students.
“I was out with the conservator and a couple of students came by and said that this made them sad, and how terrible it was that this had happened,” she said. The TDSB’s conservator, who has been involved in restoring the cenotaph before, is now assessing the cost of repairs.
Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call police at 416-808-5500, or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS, online at 222tips.com or Facebook, or by texting TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).
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As an alumni (66) I have very upset about this action by holigans. When they are caught and I hope they are their parents should also be put on display. These people have no respect. What does it take to be so stupid.
I am a Malvern alumnus. The statue has been the target of vandals for over 45 years. The solution is to move it inside. Also, if and when the vandals are caught and convicted, the next part of the solution is to sue the family for damages. The family will need a lawyer at about $400 per hour and then face the penalty. When people start paying for the behavior of their kids, you may find that we have a big part of the solution.
In our country we punish offenders with two dispositions. One is to take away their freedom and two is to take their money. So what are we waiting for? If and when these vandals are caught, Malvern should put a claim against the families ( assuming these are young offenders ) and recover costs. This may set a very very important precedent!
By-the-way, as I write this, I recall a time around 1968, when the War Memorial was covered in paint. It was a Malvern student who did it as a reaction to some incident he had with the administration/student council. That student is now a Priest/Reverend/Pastor and has atoned for his sins by confessing. His confession was in the Toronto Star a few years ago. We always thought it was another school who vandalized it.