Three ‘tines’ the charm: Elizabethtown-Kitley’s Fork in the Road will return this month after stolen twice

Chris Banfalvi puts the finishing touches on the third Fork in the Road art installation which he hopes to have in place on Kitley Line 8 and Leacock Road in Elizabethtown-Kitley Township next week. – Laurie Weir photo

Tine after tine … after tine.

Wayward flatware is making a return to its place at the table — or in this case, to the fork in the road.

For the third time since 2019, there will be an art installation at County Road 8 and Leacock Road in Elizabethtown-Kitley Township to replace the missing 200-pound, 10-foot-high stainless-steel fork that was cut down and removed last fall.

Aptly dubbed, the “Fork in the Road,” created by artist Chris Banfalvi and commissioned by local art enthusiast Bill Gibbons, a new steel piece weighing more than 800 pounds and measuring 12 feet in height will be installed, hopefully next week, said the artist.

“Before we made it from stainless steel, and now it will be more steel,” Banfalvi said, during a visit to his shop on May 8 where the fork was taking shape. “There are three four-foot sections to make it 12 feet in length.”

Banfalvi said he started the project by getting materials cut over the winter, and “looking around to get the right I-beam so it wouldn’t cost a fortune.”

Yes, the fork is now welded to a steel I-beam.

“This is a lot thicker and a lot bigger,” he said, which will hopefully deter would-be fork fans from removing it a third time.

“We’ll add a few more rocks to the base to create a frame for the concrete,” he explained.

The I-beam will be placed into the ground and adhered to the base with concrete and further supported with rebar.

The Fork in the Road is coming to life in the workshop of artist Chris Banfalvi near Frankville. – Laurie Weir photo

This isn’t the first time he’s built a piece with so much concrete support. He’s built airplanes and other heavy pieces – but no other ones have been swiped.

The original stainless-steel fork was installed in 2019, and it wasn’t long before someone removed it. Banfalvi (Dark Genesis Corporation) crafts distinctive artworks from recycled metals, showcasing many of them at his home just south of Frankville. These pieces range in price from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Each creation is entirely unique, incorporating a diverse array of scrap metal and additional elements such as crystals. The fork piece was estimated at $3,600. He’s also working on a unique piece for the public library in Brockville.

Gibbons paid for the original fork, but when it was removed, the township ponied up to cover the cost of its replacement in the fall of 2023. Gibbons will pay for this third piece as well.

“Yes, I’m covering the cost,” Gibbons said. “(It’s) not something the township should be expected to do again. As it is not stainless steel like the original, it would rust if not painted and I think a nice bright red paint will look great. So, after it is installed, it will be painted. I’m looking forward to it, hopefully next week.”

The fork became a whimsical show piece on the way to Gibbons’ AOG Gallery, which has other pieces of art by Banflavi on display, as well numerous pieces by other artists; works are highlighted on a walking trail, and at the gallery. Visitors can park at the trailhead, where a giant mural was created by spray paint artists in 2020.

Elizabethtown-Kitley Township Mayor Brant Burrow said he is looking forward to this project taking shape.

“Our community is very fortunate to have people like Bill Gibbons — people who contribute, in their own way, to the enrichment of all our lives,” Burrow said. “When the fork was stolen the first time, it was certainly disappointing. When it was replaced and then stolen a second time, it was downright disheartening. 
 
“However, behind Bill’s quiet persona, there is a very strong will, and an unwavering sense of what is right and what is wrong. So, when he approached us with the idea of replacing the folk with a new design — at his own expense, just like with the first fork — council was very grateful for his generosity and tenacity. Of course, we said, ‘yes.’”

Burrow said he’s looking forward to “seeing the landmark utensil back in its rightful home, and to having it once again fork out a little inspiration and humour to all who pass by it.”

If interested, Gibbons’ AOG Gallery is open by appointment: email aoggallery47@gmail.com or visit aoggallery.ca for more information.

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