Long-standing Sparks Street statue ‘Joy’ allegedly damaged by vandals

The incident occurred Monday evening

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The Sparks Street BIA and Mall Authority plans to restore one of its long-standing artistic features after it was allegedly damaged by vandals, the organization’s executive director says.

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The statue known as Joy, featuring four figures dancing, as well as some holiday-season decorations, were damaged Monday evening, Kevin McHale said Tuesday.

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A sculpture made of welded copper, Joy was created by Canadian artist Bruce Garner and donated to the mall authority in 1970 by E.R. (Bud) Fisher, whose men’s clothing store was a Sparks Street institution for decades.

“It has been a popular piece on the street for years,” McHale said, adding he had received an email from one of the mall merchants and a notice from the City of Ottawa works department about the damage before getting a look at the scene on Tuesday.

Some damaged and hanging pieces of the statue were removed and barricades were set up to keep pedestrians away.

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The mall organization posted images of the damaged sculpture and three-dimensional holiday light pieces on Twitter and asked anyone with information about the incident to send an email to i[email protected]. McHale said merchants had been contacted to see if they had any surveillance video that captured any vandalism. 

A police report was to be filed Wednesday.

Coincidentally, the holiday decorations had been scheduled for removal on Tuesday.

“Those are easily replaced. That’s the kind of stuff that we can order again,” McHale said. “It’s the statue of Joy that we’ll have to be sure we do right by.”

McHale said the mall organization had already reached out to the city’s Arts and Heritage Development Branch to make sure the repairs proceed in an appropriate manner. A contractor was expected to assess the sculpture on Wednesday and to recommend both immediate and long-term steps, “and we’ll have to go from there.”

No injuries were reported from the incident, McHale confirmed.

A 2009 file photo shows the sculpture Joy by Bruce Garner.
A 2009 file photo shows the sculpture Joy by Bruce Garner. Photo by JULIE OLIVER /Postmedia

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