The Distillery District's Favourite Metal Monster is Gone
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The Distillery District’s Favourite Metal Monster is Gone

A well-known sculpture has left the Distillery District after a multi-year stay.

The monster in pieces. Photo by Beth Kates.

If you’ve ever been to the Distillery District, you remember it: the faceless, 14-foot-tall Lovecraftian horror that crouched near the intersection of Gristmill Lane and Parliament Street. The steel sculpture, Koilos, by artist Michael Christian, had only been in the spot since 2009, but had already become a neighbourhood fixture. Now, it’s gone.

Reader Beth Kates, a Distillery resident, spotted Koilos being disassembled and loaded onto a flatbed truck on Monday. Despite its terrifying appearance, the sculpture had an eerie beauty that made it popular with photographers. Because it was so large, it was also inviting as a makeshift jungle gym. Damage done by climbers may have contributed to its removal.

Koilos in happier days  Photo by tonalmotion, from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

Koilos in happier days. Photo by tonalmotion, from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

During a phone call on Tuesday, Distillery District spokesperson Mathew Rosenblatt said Koilos was removed at Christian’s request.

“The artist didn’t think it was doing well in the climate,” Rosenblatt said. “As well as just the wear and tear on it over the last few years.” The work was first installed at Burning Man, an annual festival that takes place in the arid Black Rock Desert, in Nevada.

Koilos was on loan to the development companies that own the Distillery District. They had the option of buying the sculpture, but, according to Rosenblatt, they opted not to. “If we were to keep it here, it would end up being destroyed,” he said. It wasn’t immediately clear where Koilos is headed now.

There are two other works by Christian in the Distillery District, both of which will remain. Rosenblatt said the Distillery is on the hunt for something to replace Koilos, but hasn’t settled on anything yet.

UPDATE: May 16, 2013, 2:40 PM Rosenblatt now tells us that Koilos has been sold to a new private owner. It will be moved to a location somewhere in Muskoka, where the artist believes it will be spared further damage.