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Local birders claim there are a couple of barred owls who nest in the trees at Riverdale Park West, though it’s easy to frequent the park without any idea about the park’s resident birds of prey.

ARTIST: JIM MENKEN; PHOTO: MERI PERRA

Enter Orangeville artist Jim Menken, who was approached by the city to beautify a dead oak tree in the park.

Menken, a former teacher who has been carving reclaimed wood with chainsaws as his full-time gig for the past ten years, included the owls in his piece as a tribute to the local wildlife. If you saw him work during the two days it took to carve the sculpture this summer, you were likely one of many who told him, “That’s beautiful.”

ARTIST: JIM MENKEN; PHOTO: MERI PERRA

It is beautiful.

Menken says the city had to bring in an ash tree from its wood lot since the original oak tree was so diseased it was hollow on the inside.

ARTIST: JIM MENKEN; PHOTO: MERI PERRA

This is Menken’s first public art piece in Toronto.

But if you’re in the Casa Loma area, you can check out the dragon he carved on a private lot, and you can see his work all over Orangeville and Mississauga.

ARTIST: JIM MENKEN; PHOTO: MERI PERRA

ALL PHOTOS: MERI PERRA

Jim Menken’s website.

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