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Chinatown residents in Ottawa frustrated after statues defaced or stolen


Several art installations in Ottawa's Chinatown neighbourhood have been defaced or stolen since they were installed earlier this year.

The colourful statues were meant to bring joy to those living and visiting the neighbourhood but instead, the damaged artwork has left the community frustrated and dejected.

Chinatown BIA executive director Yukang Li said the statues, which were first installed in February, were meant to bring a spark to the streets.

"It's not just the vandalisation of public art, it's the disrespect for our culture," he said in an interview with CTV News Ottawa.

The Chinatown BIA shared footage on social media showing three women climbing on a dinosaur statue near Booth and Somerset streets before carrying it away. The images are dated Friday, June 30, at 3:24 a.m. Li says he has filed a police report.

"It was very sad to see the on the video the people do what they did," he said. "It's a nice addition to the neighbourhood. I don't understand why people would do things like that."

In an update on Instagram late Monday afternoon, the Chinatown BIA said one of the individuals had been identified.

"We are pleased to announce that we have successfully identified one of the individuals involved, and their name has been provided to the Ottawa Police," the post said. "However, it is important to note that at this time, the individual in question has not yet been charged. The investigation is ongoing, and we trust that the Ottawa Police will handle the situation with the utmost professionalism and diligence."

The BIA says these installations cost $200,000, funded through government grants as part of a revitalization effort. There are at least eight groups of statues placed along Somerset Street between Bronson Avenue and Preston Street. They range from iconic Chinese pandas to popular characters drawing from Asian culture.

Several art pieces installed in Ottawa's Chinatown neighbourhood have been vandalized, BIA director Yukang Li says. (Jackie Perez/CTV News Ottawa)

Some now have cracks, one figure was beheaded and others are missing altogether.

As Li waits to hear from police, he's reaching out to the public for help, hoping the stolen artwork is returned and the remaining pieces won't be damaged further.

"I feel very frustrated, not for myself but for the community," he said. "I hope people respect this community, respect our culture and respect the effort we have been making to revitalize this community and beautify our street."

CTV News Ottawa has reached out to the Ottawa Police Service for comment but has not yet heard back. Top Stories

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