The vandalism and theft of a Marina Cole carving meant to be installed in Hope to honour the Young family is "heartbreaking" says Victor Smith. (Victor Smith photo)

‘It’s heartbreaking’: Plea to return piece of carving vandalized and stolen in Hope

Marina Cole carving was meant to stand outside Rolly’s Restaurant in honour of the Young family

“Heartbreaking” is how Victor Smith would describe the vandalism of a carving in late November, as people cut a hole in the Canyon Cable fence and made away with a sawed-off portion of a carving meant to be installed outside Rolly’s Restaurant.

Alberta carver Marina Cole spent 32 hours completing the carving depicting a young woman with a long braid, modeled on Cole’s daughter, standing with her hands grazing a horse as a dog looks up at her. The carving was meant to go up outside Rolly’s last week to honour of Muriel Young and the Young family’s contribution to the town, yet a portion of the carving was cut off and carted away.

“With Communities in Bloom we feel kind of deflated because, wow, we’re trying to make a difference,” Smith said of the vandalism and theft, which involved thieves cutting the carving at around the legs and carting off the top portion of it. “It’s heartbreaking.”

Sometimes carvings are damaged accidentally and in 2018 a large-scale eagle carving was stolen from outside the Owl Street Cafe and later returned unscathed, yet this is the most damage a carving has sustained in a theft Smith said.

Read more: Chainsaw carving stolen from outside Owl Street Cafe comes home to roost

“Whoever has a heart, or if people know who it is, if we can get it back we can fix it,” Smith said. “If we get it back, left at Canyon Cable, no questions asked, we can fix it and still go forward on it” or if someone knows where it is, Communities in Bloom can come retrieve it.

Smith said Muriel, her late husband John, and her family were being recognized for their contributions to the community, through their business and through their support for young people experiencing hardship. Rolly’s has also donated the breakfast for the chainsaw carving contest for years.

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