British Columbia

Statue of Queen Elizabeth II found beheaded in Victoria park

Victoria Police say they are investigating whether the beheading of a statue of Queen Elizabeth II is connected to other recent acts of violence and vandalism.

Incident follows other recent of acts of violence and vandalism

Victoria Police say the head has not been recovered. (Victoria Police)

Victoria Police are investigating after a statue of Queen Elizabeth II was discovered beheaded in Beacon Hill Park Wednesday.

Police are trying to determine whether the discovery is connected to two recent violent attacks — and numerous acts of vandalism that saw an area near the statue, as well as public and private property spray-painted with graffiti Wednesday morning. 

"A lot of the messaging ... was focused on Beacon Hill Park as well as some city staff," said Bowen Osoko with Victoria police.

Osoko said a man was arrested recently after attacking bylaw staff with a shovel in a local park. 

"He was actually arrested at gunpoint," said Osoko. "We certainly don't arrest people at gunpoint everyday."

On Tuesday morning, police made another arrest after park staff were attacked by a man with a sledgehammer.

The statue of Queen Elizabeth II before the vandalism. (Kevstan/Creative Commons)

Mayor Lisa Helps says that defacing public property is "completely unacceptable." 

"Whether it's the beheading of a statue or writing on the wall or etching of glass or anything, it's just completely unacceptable and it's completely unnecessary," Helps said Wednesday.

The statue, now covered in a wooden crate, was erected to commemorate a 45-day cross-Canada tour by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1959.

Victoria Police Chief Del Manak said the incidents are unfortunate.

"We have beautiful parks in the City of Victoria here and it's really, really important that we all work together to protect these green spaces," he said.

Osoko said the head has not been recovered — and repairs to fix the statue could be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

A wooden box now covers the decapitated statue of Queen Elizabeth II in Victoria's Beacon Hill Park. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

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