A statue of Jeffrey Baldwin, the Toronto boy who starved to death in 2002 after being severely neglected by his grandparents, was unveiled at Greenwood Park in Leslieville on Saturday.
The five-year-old boy’s tragic story moved Ottawa resident Todd Boyce to raise money to build the statue.
An emotional Boyce attended the unveiling and thanked those in attendance, as well as those who donated money for the statue.
“I’m thrilled that there is so much support and compassion for Jeffrey, so much that he didn’t have when he was alive but he has it now,” he said. “I’d like to thank everybody for showing up here and showing your support.”
Boyce was especially affected by testimony from the boy’s father that in happier times Jeffrey loved Superman and wanted to fly just like the superhero.
The statue’s artist, Ruth Abernethy — known for a Glenn Gould bronze statue on a bench on Front Street in Toronto and a bronze of Oscar Peterson outside the National Arts Centre in Ottawa — designed it with Jeffrey standing on a bench, wearing a Superman costume like he did one Halloween.
DC Entertainment initially refused Boyce permission to use the Superman logo on the memorial, but granted their approval after their denial drew international backlash.
Jeffrey’s grandparents are now serving life sentences for second-degree murder after locking him for long stretches in a cold room, fetid with his own waste, and so severely starving him that when he died just shy of his sixth birthday, his weight was that of a 10-month-old infant.
With files from The Canadian Press