Newly restored statue attacked by vandals

A search is now underway for four suspects after a war memorial statue outside Malvern Collegiate was vandalized over the weekend, just hours after a ceremony Friday to celebrate its restoration.

Security camera footage of the incident early Sunday shows one male, aided by three others, climbing up the statue and wrapping blue duct tape around its head and sword, Malvern principal Line Pinard said Monday.

Three letters were also torn off the memorial, which has the names of the 25 Malvern students killed in the First World War.

The total value of damage is estimated at about $2,000 dollars.

The weekend vandalism has shocked staff and students, Pinard said, coming just days after the restoration celebration and days before Remembrance Day.

The Toronto District School Board has fielded media calls from around the world about the incident. “Everyone at the school is just devastated,” said Toronto District School Board spokeswoman Shari Schwartz-Maltz.

Police and restoration experts had recommended that the duct tape not be removed for fear it could cause further damage. However, someone had taken most of it off by Monday morning, although some tape remained on the sword.

First installed in 1922, the statue of a man carrying a sword in one hand and chains in the other was damaged over the years. It had been painted red, wrapped in toilet paper, dressed up and climbed upon, and parts were crumbling.

About a decade ago, a neighbour found the right hand on school property and no sign of the sword.

The Friday rededication ceremony unveiled a statue made whole again, with the right hand restored, a new sword, and the names of the 25 Malvern grads who died in the First World War.

Some $30,000 was raised in the community — including by the families of those killed in the war, PACE Credit Union, the Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council — and $14,000 from the Veterans Affairs Canada.

The second phase of repairs was to include better lighting and a high-tech security camera to thwart vandals.

It had already been egged just before Halloween, neighbours said.

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