On October 27, 1966, The Archer was unveiled before a crowd of approximately 7,500 people by both Mayor Givens and The Honourable William Earl Rowe. The reception was less than warm. According to the Globe and Mail, one participant called it ‘horrid’. Controller Dennison crowed: “I don’t see anyone swooning with ecstasy and I’m glad I took my position.”
However, by October 29, one newspaper estimated that on average 2,400 people had come to see the piece every hour. Today it is considered one of Toronto’s pre-eminent artistic landmarks. Its unveiling was also a watershed moment for public art in the city. The Archer’s installation encouraged the commission of modern art installations by developers and corporations throughout Toronto. While we still argue about spending public funds on ‘frivolous’ things like rocks and umbrellas, we no longer question the validity of abstract art in public spaces.
Sources: City of Toronto Website (Oct. 30, 2016): http://www.toronto.ca/311/knowledgebase/59/101000040959.html
The Torontoist (Oct 30, 2016): http://torontoist.com/2010/07/historicist_henry_moores_big_bronze_whatchamacallit/