FRANKVILLE, ONT. -- In a small town southwest of Ottawa, the fork in the road has gone missing.

The spot on Kitley Line 8 Road in Frankville, Ont. is unassuming now. But for the last two years, in the middle of the split veering left onto Leacock Road, stood a massive three-metre-tall stainless steel fork.

It looked much like a scene from 1979’s The Muppet Movie, when Kermit the Frog and Fozzie, are on a road trip and take a turn in their car at a comically-sized fork in the road.

But now, Frankville’s fork is gone. And the search is on.

Last week, the town’s landmark utensil was found bent over. Before it could be fixed, the next night it was stolen, removed from the large stone it was securely bolted to.

“It’s very disappointing. There’s a whole lot worse things going on in the world today but yeah,” says resident Bill Gibbons, an art enthusiast who commissioned and paid for the giant fork.

“I collect art and I’ve got a sculpture gallery and I’ve got a walking trail with sculptures on it. I have art that I enjoy and I like other people to be able to enjoy it too.”

In early 2019, Gibbons approached Brant Burrow, the township’s mayor, with a request to place the metal sculpture on city land.

“The whole council unanimously got behind it,” Burrow said. “It’s quirky, it’s unique, it’s really fun and when it went missing it was a real gut-punch. It’s so senseless.”

The fork’s fabricator, who’s also a town resident, feels the same. Artist Chris Banfalvi spent months moulding sheets of metal into fine-dining silverware.

“It’s kind of hard for them to scrap it because I know all the scrap yards and I’ve called them, so they know me and they know my art,” says Banfalvi, adding he’s committed to replacing the piece.

“It is a good chunk of resource but I will find a way to make it happen.”

Mayor Burrow says the township will try to help.

“Who’s going to pay for that? It still needs to be worked out,” he says. “There is no way that I want this community to move forward without a fork in the road once it was there. It’s a fixture.”

Frankville is a small, tight-knit community about 100 kilometres south of Ottawa. Longstanding members like Celia Godkin say they are saddened by the theft of their memorable landmark.

“I have trouble understanding why people do things like that, I mean what do they gain from it? They’re just hurting other people,” says Godkin. “It’s sort of a point of interest in an area that doesn’t have a lot of tourist attractions.

“I would love to see another one there.”

A police report has been filed. But for Gibbons, the solution is simple.

“They should just return it. Drop it off in the middle of the night for all I care, and we can put it back up.”