By Mark Pavilons
The handiwork of Schomberg’s Allstone Quarry Products is now proudly displayed at a Scarborough park.
Allstone’s Joe Melo and his crew placed several massive granite pieces at Knob Hill Park, wrapping up the work Nov. 30.
The final, piece de resistance was an enormous piece of granite, 29 feet 6 inches long, weighing roughly 63,000 pounds. Despite its size, “The Rock” as it’s called, was gently and expertly put in place by Allstone’s crew. Previously, on Nov. 23 the crew assembled a large inukshuk, known as “The Man.” Once completed, Melo called the artistic assembly “beautiful.”
The inukshuk ended up being a bit taller than expected, with the addition of a four-foot pedestal, bringing it to roughly 13 feet in height.
Melo took extreme care during the installation. The existing grass was protected by plywood and grass was cut with precision to create a tailored look.
This project was two years in the making and patience was the key. Melo had made some mental notes and sketches for placing the stones at the park. He knew, from the very beginning, how these massive pieces would come together as a unique collection of art. He was confident it would be something the city would be proud of.
And that they were.
Deputy Mayor and Scarborough City Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker was simply thrilled with the project. The rock art pieces are “big, bold and fit right in with Scarborough,” he said.
He had no qualms about “stealing” King’s talented experts to make Scarborough better.
The project was a long time coming.
De Baeremaeker recalls taking a trip to Allstone’s quarry at French River back in 2013, when scouting some pieces for the Scarborough Civic Centre Library. With Melo’s help, they found the ideal granite marvels. De Baeremaeker was taken by Melo’s passion right away.
“I believe him when he says the granite speaks to him. He is an artist.”
Funding for art at the library fizzled and De Baeremaeker, an active, hands-on councillor, didn’t give up. He told Allstone to save these pieces and he’d work on funding. He came through and the rest is history.
Just minutes after the rocks were installed, local children were playing in the park, and climbing all around the inukshuk, which Melo guarantees is virtually indestructible.
The spectacular display will last forever.
“These will be there as long as there are human beings in the GTA,” De Baeremaeker observed.
Granite is one stone whose appearance never changes and is never affected by the elements. It was not only created by nature, but also finished by moving glaciers curing the last ice age.
Melo, an expert landscaper, is also a large rock artist. He’s thrilled when a project comes together and all involved are happy with the results.
“It has to tell a story,” he said. “If you please people, you please yourself.”
“The Cube” and “The Couple” – two other remarkable pieces – also adorn the park. They are all connected.
Melo credits De Baeremaeker for his vision and commitment to the project.
This process, and the finished result, “brings people together,” Melo observed.