They say beauty's in the eye of the beholder, and nowhere is that more true than in the story of Charity, Markham's stainless steel cow.
CBC Toronto reported on the reaction of residents in the Cathedraltown neighbourhood, who said the sculpture commemorating an award-winning dairy cow "scares the children."
But it definitely doesn't frighten Zane Caplansky of Caplansky's Deli. After he heard about Charity, and the residents' beef with her, he said he was ready to take the cow off their hands.
"I love it. I think it's a beautiful object of art. I can't even understand what all the controversy is about," Caplansky told CBC Toronto Friday.
Caplansky wants to move the cow to the patio of his Yorkville location and says the cow symbolizes what his business is all about: meat. He would like to see the sculpture off its stilts and more accessible for people to touch.
"This would fit in so perfectly in Yorkville because its so beautiful and it's such an attraction. We have a patio right in front. I would take away the tables that we have and I'd put the cow right there," he said.
Sculpture's not going anywhere, vows woman who commissioned it
Not so fast, says Helen Roman Barber, the woman who commissioned the work of art.
The sculpture commemorates Brookview Tony Charity, an award-winning Holstein cow that was raised on her family's property, Romandale Farm. Cathedraltown now sits on the land the farm was built on.
Charity the cow lived on the farm for years and was an important part of it. Barber says she commissioned the sculpture to preserve the history of the area.
"[Charity] gave oodles more milk than any other living cow in existence," Barber told CBC Toronto. "She was very esteemed."
Barber isn't insulted by the community's reaction to the cow, but she affirms that Charity is not going anywhere because she is not going to let that happen.
"I'm sorry that they don't know the history or not interested in the history because that was primordial for us," she said.
An overnight sensation?
While the residents in the surrounding vicinity may not be fans of the cow, many people from the GTA came by to see the cow on Charity Crescent Friday.
Matthew Fraser, who is originally from Ottawa, was in Toronto visiting his friends when he heard about the controversial cow in Markham. As art lovers themselves, he and his friends decided to come see the sculpture and was not disappointed.
"We're glad to see it and we think it looks great against the blue sky, nice contrast," said Fraser. "This is the art of the day."
Fraser says art should start a dialogue, good or bad, and the cow has certainly done that.
Fraser's reaction was shared by many, including Gayle Petri, who drove to Markham from Aurora to see the sculpture.
"I think it's great. I think it's beautiful," says Petri. "I think it's a point of conversation."
Danny Xue, who lives in the area and is very proud of the cow, doesn't want to see it go downtown.
"Without the cow, this would be just an ordinary neighbourhood park, kind of underused. With this cow, its a great mini- tourist destination in this area. It's a great piece of art for this public space." he said.
"As somebody that lives in this neighbourhood, I'd like to keep it here.