A giant Portugese rooster is coming to a Toronto park

One lucky Toronto artist will get a chance to paint the new sculpture
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A Toronto park will get a refreshing new sculpture in the form of a giant rooster from Portugal this year, and it comes with a fascinating story.

The 2.8 metre tall sculpture weighs 100 kilograms and originates from the Northern part of Portugal in the city of Barcelos, according to AnaBela Taborda, chairperson of the Little Portugal Business Improvement Areas (BIA) in Toronto.

According to Taborda, the rooster has been sitting in storage since its arrival due to the pandemic but the City of Toronto plans to resume the project this year and eventually place it in the Lakeview Avenue Parkette.

The sculpture will be a terrific addition to the Toronto park, as Taborda explained that the Barcelos Rooster is an unofficial symbol of Portugal that is said to represent “the embodiment of the famous Portugese love for life.”

Taborda explained that the legend of the Barcelos Rooster is a fascinating story, one that “talks about honesty, hope, and a new start.”

According to the legend, there was a man back in medieval times who was sentenced to death for a crime he swore he did not commit. When the day arrived for his death sentence, the man continued to explain he was innocent. When no one believed him, the man pointed to a cooked rooster that was served at a lunch table and said the rooster would get up and sing at the hour of his execution to prove his innocence. When the hour struck, the rooster rose from the table and began to sing, saving the man from death.

Taborda explained that the rooster symbolizes a new beginning —  and what better time to add the sculpture to a Toronto park than during the difficult time of the pandemic.

The idea to bring the rooster to Toronto came from the Portugese consulate general Rui Gomes, who was excited to see a part of the City named after Portugal when he visited, said Toborda. 

Gomes decided to donate the giant rooster to the City of Toronto and the Deputy Mayor Ana Bailao suggested it be painted by local artists to give it a Toronto touch, according to Toborda.

Before it goes on display, one lucky Torontoian will get a chance to paint the rooster. Artists can send proposals to the City of Toronto until February 14. 

The City of Toronto will review all proposals and select five final artists to consider. These artists will each receive a small rooster sculpture to work on between June 21 and August 6, 2021, said Taborda.

The plan is to have the finished, painted rooster on display in the park sometime in September, although Taborda said the final date is TBD due to the pandemic.

Featured Image (Left): A similar rooster, painted in the traditional style, is in front of 2079 Dufferin St. at the Barcelos community centre in Toronto. Courtesy of Karen Longwell. (Right): Courtesy of iStockPhotos.

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