Tell pretty much anyone in this town that you are writing a blog about public art in Toronto and the first thing they’ll ask is: “Have you written about the cows yet?”
Somehow seven life-sized bronze statues of cows have become synonymous with public art in this city. But how?
The Pasture was installed in the Toronto Dominion Centre courtyard in 1985 by sculptor Joe Fafard, bringing a little bit of the Prairies to downtown Toronto. The cows have become iconic to the area, so much so that when they were moved to make room for renovations to the TD Centre courtyard, it elicited a wave of concern the likes of which I’ve never seen for a public art installation. I’m sure the regard for them has something to do with the incongruity of portraying something so bucolic and rural in the middle of the city’s undeniably urban financial district. Depicted placidly chewing their cud, the Courtyard Cows invite busy office drones to pause, take a breath, and center themselves before carrying on with their hustle and their bustle
The cows are peaceful. They are restful. Compared to The Charging Bull that dominates New York’s Wall Street, they are oh so wonderfully Canadian.