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).