Anne of Green Gables loses her head

Staff ~ The Guardian
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CHARLOTTETOWN - Anne's image is taking a beating.

Madyson Mowat, daughter of Rachel and Ken of St. Catharines, Ont., who is vacationing and visiting family on the Island helps Anne get a head in a cutout on Queen Street, Charlottetown. 

The plucky fictional orphan with the trademark red-haired ponytails has been an ongoing target of vandalism in Charlottetown in recent weeks.

The latest act was a beheading.

Extreme effort appeared necessary to remove the head of a life-sized Anne that was made out of a thick sheet of steel.

The cutout is on display at the entrance to Victoria Row where Richmond Street intersects Queen Street. Minus her head, the cutout of Anne is turning the head of many passersby.

The cutout, which includes a history of Anne of Green Gables: The Musical, was meant to drum up interest in the musical while also serving as an eye-catching directional sign to the Confederation Centre of the Arts box office.

The beheading was not the first indignity of late delivered upon Anne images that are located just outside the Confed Centre where Canada's longest running musical has played for decades as the cornerstone of The Charlottetown Festival.

On Thursday, the entire $1,100 steel-Anne cutout was pried loose and stolen. The thief was caught, and Anne was reinstalled at a cost of $300.

Another $600 would be needed to get a new Anne cutout to replace the one missing her head.

"But that is a lot if we are taking a risk of having it vandalized again,'' says Carol Horne, chief marketing officer with the Confederation Centre.

However, she is quick to add that Anne of Green Gables is the Centre's "crown jewel cultural product.''

On July 19, a life-size decal of Anne on a kiosk door near the entrance to the box office was completely torn off the door. Only an outline of Anne's shoes remained.

The decal, which had only been up for four or five days, was replaced at a cost of about $250.

Anne is not the only musical in Charlottetown to receive harsh treatment from a vandal or vandals.

The giant metal guitar outside The Mac that is used to help market the musical Dear Johnny Deer was literally bent out of shape, requiring a couple hours of work to hammer the advertising prop back into its original state.

Horne says new security measures are being explored to provide a greater deterrence to any future vandalism outside the Confederation Centre, perhaps directing security cameras at some of the expensive marketing props.

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