Many of the faces in an art installation in Almonte were vandalized earlier this week. (Shaun Vardon/CTV News Ottawa)

An art installation as a popular park in the heart of Almonte was vandalized earlier this week, and there are fears some of the unique pieces in the display cannot be repaired.

Local resident Lori Timmins was shocked to see the damage, calling it “mortifying.”

“I’m really devastated that someone would come along to ruin such a beautiful piece of art that was given to the community to embrace Canada the way it does,” Timmins said. “I don’t know how it’s going to be fixed.”

The piece was originally commissioned by the National Capital Commission for Canada’s 125 birthday. It was gifted to Mississippi Mills in 2017 to mark Canada’s 150 birthday.

It consists of a structure similar in the shape of the dwellings indigenous peoples in eastern Canada lived in before Europeans arrived.

Attached to that structure are faces from all over Canada that were cast in glass to represent the diversity of Canada. When it was installed in Almonte, another six local faces were added to reflect the surrounding community.

Stephen Brathwaite, the local artist who created the piece, says he’s disappointed to see his work destroyed but does not feel the vandalism reflects the true spirit of the community.

“I love this community, it makes me feel great that people have embraced it. We will put it back together and I’m delighted people care,” Brathwaite said. If I can’t repair the ones that were broken I’ll cast some more from local people.”

Mississippi Mills Mayor Christa Lowry issued a statement to CTV News Ottawa, saying she was “shocked and heartbroken” at the vandalism.

“Shelter/Tissage is special because local artist Stephen Brathwaite created it,” the statement said.” It is special because it features people from all across Canada as well as members of our own community.  It is special because a community-led initiative brought it home for us all to enjoy. 

“The damage doesn’t appear to have been an impulsive act. These aren’t fragile glass faces. They’re solid and would require a heavy object and force to break. Many of the glass faces have been smashed. 

“I have reached out personally to Stephen to convey my sadness over this senseless act of destruction.  Although it is early yet to determine how or if repairs can be made, the outpouring of responses and support from the community is overwhelming.  

“Our community has a tremendous ability to come together and find solutions.  I have every confidence we will find a way to turn this around and in the end, make this story a positive one.”

If you have any information regarding this act of vandalism you are asked to contact the Municipality of Mississippi Mills at info@mississippimills.ca or call 613-256-2064.