by BK Munn
Item! That Super-baby statue is now a reality. As we reported last July, an indiegogo campaign to erect a Superman-themed memorial to a tortured and murdered child in Toronto’s Greenwood park ran into a barrier in the form of DC Comics/Warner Bros legal department before public outcry forced an about-face. The Toronto Star reports on the statue’s dedication this past Saturday:
“Jeffrey Baldwin, dressed as Superman, was among his fellow children in spirit on Saturday, as hundreds gathered in Greenwood Park for the unveiling of a bronze statue and bench in the young abuse victim’s honour.
It was a scene quite unlike the sadness of his short life.
Twelve years ago, the 5-year-old Toronto boy died of starvation — he weighed only 21 pounds at his death — at the hands of his grandparents, Norman Kidman and Elva Bottineau. The pair were convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
“There’s so much support and compassion for Jeffrey,” said an emotional Todd Boyce, the Ottawa father who spearheaded online fundraising efforts that raised more than $36,000 for the memorial. “So much that he didn’t have in his life, but he has it now.””
Item! The Ben Wicks Pub has ceased operations. Founded in Toronto in 1980 by popular cartoonist Ben Wicks and decorated with large murals of his cartoons, the basement bar and restaurant is now The Local Gest. One of only a half-dozen Canadian cartoonist landmarks in the country, the bar’s comics connection was maintained by its use as an informal meeting place for the Doug Wright Awards organizing committee for many years. The pub last made news in 2013 when its owner and his manager where ordered by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal to pay $18,000 for the manager’s sexually harassment of a bartender in 2008.
A note on the bar’s website reads “AN END TO AN ERA FOR CABBAGETOWN! IT’S TIME FOR ROBERT TO CHOP CHOP & MOVE-A-LONG: Ben Wicks’ wit, cartoons, philanthropy & love of Canada made him a much respected historical figure in Toronto. For Twenty-Nine of those years, Robert McEnirney preserved Ben’s great humour & legacy at The Ben Wicks Restaurant & Pub – aka “The Wicks” to regulars; A home away from home quickly adopted by many global visitors. Robert’s warm, welcoming nature, as well as his passion for people & conversation, was the basis for many deep-rooted friendships which originated while visiting The Wicks. His dedication to ensuring that ALL of his guests enjoyed each & every visit to The Wicks brought personal satisfaction and happiness to Robert. Robert’s catch phrases over the years have been “Chop Chop, Move A Long, Pay Your Bill”. Well, the bills are paid and Robert has decided that it is his turn to “Chop Chop & Move A Long”. Robert will always cherish the friendships developed over the years. Memories, happy & sad, good & bad, of Robert’s 29 years at The Ben Wicks will always be fondly remembered, and without a doubt, spoken of often. Although “The Ben Wicks” is an end to an era in Cabbagetown, please welcome in its place: The Local Gest in True Cabbagetown Style. To All the Patrons, Guests & Customers over the past 29 years, Thank You & Cheers.”