Nova Scotia

Stolen pieces returned to Public Gardens fountain

Thieves who stole pieces of a newly-restored fountain in the Halifax Public Gardens — less than a day after the scaffolding was removed — appear to have had a change of heart.

Cast iron pieces removed hours after newly-restored fountain was completed

Decorative cast iron pieces have been stolen from the newly-refurbished Victoria Jubilee Fountain. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

Thieves who stole pieces of a newly-restored fountain in the Halifax Public Gardens — less than a day after the scaffolding was removed — appear to have had a change of heart.

Scott Smith, who is in charge of the $100,000 restoration of the Victoria Jubilee Fountain, said someone stole four decorative pieces of cast iron sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning.

"They took one of the lion's heads," Smith told CBC News earlier on Tuesday.

"This vandalism occurred basically in the middle of the night. There was a commissionaire on, but I guess she didn't see it or they timed their visit in between her rounds."

Just before 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Halifax Regional Police were called to the Public Gardens after a report of a suspicious package. Officers could be seen sifting through a cardboard box that contained at least one golden lion's head.

Officers could be seen sifting through a cardboard box that contained at least one golden lion's head. (CBC)

Halifax Regional Police said the box — which contained a cast iron head and three other ornaments — appeared to have been tossed over the fence near the park entrance at Sackville and Summer streets.

A Public Gardens commissionaire spotted the package and called police.

The fountain, which was originally installed to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, is more than a century old.

The restoration, which has taken months, included digging a trench to supply electricity to the statue's new water pump. Workers also fixed cast iron and zinc pieces that had fallen off the statue.

On Monday, workers were at the Public Gardens removing the scaffolding from around the fountain.

Smith said he noticed the missing pieces Tuesday morning when he dropped by the fountain to watch crews testing the fountain.

"It's just paint on cast iron, cast zinc and it has no value at all," he said.

"We can recast these but it's just such a shame."

Official unveiling still planned for Saturday

Glen Canning, a Halifax resident, said he was disappointed by the theft.

"There's been work crews here all summer and to find out they're just finishing up now and that happens already, that's pretty sad," he told CBC News.

"Disappointing. Disheartening."

Officials said the city is still planning to go ahead with an official unveiling of the refurbished fountain on Saturday night at the Nocturne: Art at Night festival.

Smith had said anyone who wants to return the missing pieces can do so, no questions asked.

"We've spent a lot of time and effort on this," he said.

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