Town releases survey seeking input on Pipe Man


The Town of Huntsville is seeking input from the public on the floating sculpture located in the Muskoka River named Pipe Man.

In May of 2016, Huntsville Council approved a design concept for an in-water art sculpture donation, on condition that federal navigable waters (who have jurisdiction of the Muskoka River channel) approved. The approval was granted by the Department of Transport Canada. The donor had the sculpture physically fabricated and placed in the river as per the draft artist’s design presented to council. The sculpture is designed to float in water, only. Following the installation of the sculpture, now known as “Pipe Man”, both negative and positive comments were received by the public on the art installation.

The town has designed a short, three-question survey to engage the public in this matter. All opinions are sought. The information collected will remain anonymous. The survey is available at from Thursday June 29, 2017 through August 5, 2017. If anyone wishes a paper copy of the survey, these will be available from Customer Service at both Huntsville Town Hall and the Canada Summit Centre.

It is expected that the consolidated survey results will be presented to the General Committee of Council at their meeting scheduled for Wednesday August 30, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. in the Town of Huntsville Council Chambers, 37 Main Street East, Huntsville, Ontario.

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  1. Michael L. Barrett on

    As a memory to Tom Thomson . . . It’s all about the pipe . .. . did Tom Thomson weld up tall pipes ? Pick up a piece of Tom Thomson Art that he painted close to Huntsville , vote on picking one and find an area to put it for all to see . You could even pick a group of seven to vote . . . .

  2. Marian MacLeod on

    Ok Everyone , here is your opportunity to be heard….. officially.
    Do not think we are all ‘negative’ about this sculpture !
    There are many of us who admire it and want it to stay, right where it is.
    Vote and be counted !!
    Happy Canada Day too.
    Marian MacLeod

  3. It doesn’t belong where they put it and for us to have to pay to have it removed is a slap in the face. I say if they don’t want it back sink the thing.

    • I did not mind it as long as it was located appropriately OUT OF THE WATER however at this point it annoys me so much seeing it obstruct that beautiful view of the bridge that I want that sucker to sink. And by the way to the people who love it… perhaps you would like to pay to move it, because it is ruining a beautiful scenic view that’s totally irreplaceable “natural art”

  4. Sure is not something that should be promoted as being a representation of the art produced by the talented artistic community in Huntsville.

    I vote to send it to Stisted …(landfill).

  5. Jacquie Howell on

    Go to the survey and give your impression. I would like to know how they got the picture. We were out in the boat last week – yes there was a couple of hours it didn’t rain, and Pipe Man is leaning and hard to see in the mist.

    I will fill out the survey and ask everyone I know too. Express your opinion and talk to the cottagers and visitors. Maybe some like it but I am not sure about the majority.

  6. Tammy Lalonde on

    It’s a terrible piece. As you’re driving or walking past on the street in the daytime, you can’t even tell what it is supposed to be! Even when it’s lit at night, it still isn’t something wonderful to look at. It needs to go. It just doesn’t make sense.

  7. I was hoping it would be gone for the summer of 2017. Put it somewhere else if it has to float dig a hole.

    • Eunice Roberts on on

      I agree. Put it somewhere else, where it blends with the landscape, not stuck in the middle of nowhere.

  8. Janette Rawn on

    As a visitor to Huntsville and a former resident I suggest get rid of it. Muskoka is known for its beauty not a pipie town!!!

    • Karen Robichaud on

      I agree
      Looks like a Halloween display
      Remove it
      Not at tax payers expenses
      Survey should of been done first
      Is it free advertising by donor
      What actually is it suppose to represent?

  9. MaryLou Fletcher-McCormick on

    Please remove it and not at the taxpayers’ expense. It is an eyesore and ruins the view of the river in downtown. I fear there will be a boating or swimming accident if it remains. The town should have sought input prior to installing it!

  10. I first looked at it and thought, what is that suppose to be a drawing of ? I never thought it had anything to do with Tom Thomson.

  11. Kathryn Henderson on

    It is an eyesore. It doesn’t blend in with Muskoka at all. I wish we had the opportunity to vote before it was installed. Now it will cost us to get rid of it. What were they thinking?

  12. Betty Fulton on

    Having lived in Huntsville fro 23 years, we moved back to St. Catharines when my late husband Ches was so ill. In Huntsville recently for a week, was my first real opportunity to see Pipe Man. I follow Huntsville Doppler online faithfully, so was aware of all the hype. It is UGLY, certainly nothing there to promote Huntsville or Tom Thomson. I would suggest giving it back to the donor, and if they don’t want it, HIDE IT!
    Betty Fulton

  13. Nancy A Bartok on

    Do not like it! Do not want it! Take it away! Where was the survey when it was being considered for it’s present location? This weird looking piece of pipe does not belong in the middle of our river in our town! Let the owner come and get it and take it away! I signed the survey, did you?! Tell everyone you know to fill out the survey.

  14. How dare you waste my tax dollars? If the cost of this was coming out of your pocket would you? What next, a rubber ducky? This is our money you’re spending. Use your head. This money could have been used for so many better things, Kids, Hospital, seniors, job creation. Anything really.

    • Ms. White; the sculpture cost the town nothing, it was donated by the company that is allowed to advertise on it. If you do not like it respond to the survey.

      • The town is now by agreement stuck with the costs if this piece of plastic goes wrong or gets removed. It’s a billboard and nothing more. Of a billboard on the highway gets removed do we pay for it? No.

  15. There’s not much romance to a pipe, but then it’s just a pipe The doner’s intention was well meant we know, but sometimes we have to admit a failure. And it’s all of that.

  16. Rod Fletcher-McCormick on

    I think it is ugly and a boating hazard. Afraid of kids swimming out to it, as I have seen them jumping off of it. It does not blend into the Muskoka environment.

  17. Possibly a smart move by the Town….Leave the survey for almost a year, hoping that this “Thing” would grow on us. OK, I’ll admit, my dislike was diminishing…I was getting used to it….Until I was coming up river with a large pontoon boat, necessitating travel through the east tunnel under the bridge, and heading towards the finger docks…enough navigation to clear the east rocks, avoid the bridge pilings, followed by the lighthouse island, and the Nydocks at B Pizza before turning towards the town dock…Oooops! there’s this other thing in the water.,,,,,
    Sorry, it’s gotta go somewhere else. I still see kids on a tube being towed down the river meeting boat wake and going on one side of this object whilst the boat goes t’other side..,,..,not to mention the kids who now swim out to the black Dilxx to dive off its base…

    And you thought a professional beekeeper was unsafe on the roof of town Hall???…Maybe you need WHIMIS labels on the packs of photocopier paper..”May inflict slice cuts to fingers..use in copiers may release Ozone and deforestation leading to greenhouse gas buildups and global warming.”

    If the Town is so liability concerned, Pipe man should be removed immediately before the Dockfext takes place.

  18. Tammy Brockhaus on

    Everytime we drive past it my son asks me what it’s supposed to be, and I tell him the truth: it’s a mistake.

  19. Susan E Zimmer on

    The survey is so skewed in favor of keeping it right where it is, with a cost of removal thrown in there so people will just quietly walk away. Money shouldn’t trump a bad decision made by the town last September.

    • The surveys and the previous fact sheet by the town are skewed in favor because the town made the mistake of assuming financial responsibility for this monstrosity with no public input and will now have wasted our money regardless of the outcome.

  20. Terry McCaffery on

    The Town’s survey is certainly skewed in favour of the status quo: keeping it in place. The cost of removal, posted at 10K, is to deter people from deciding that it should be removed. I think 10K is pretty cheap to get rid of this eyesore. Perhaps the Mayor and Councillors should each contribute a grand of their stipend to have it removed. After all, it was their decision to approve this piece of junk.

    • This thing should not be removed at the taxpayers’ expense because it was stuffed in there without input. I strongly suggest that this piece of advertisement be moved before a multi-million dollar lawsuit naming the town, the advertiser and the ministry of transportation is file because someone got hurt or worse. That makes $10,000 look like pennies.

  21. Lynn GAllagher on

    Structure might be better on land, in a park or in front of a public building (Library/Town Hall/Hospital etc.). A straight metal pole (with carving difficult to see and catch image), bobbing in water does nothing for the memory and history of Tom Thomson.

  22. Craig Robert on

    I much prefer the scenery of the river and cottages as that’s why people come up here. Statues like that belong in a city or someone that isn’t in the way of our nice nature

    • Mr. Roberts are you suggesting that this “town” should be berift of all public art in the form of statuary?

      • Joan Jerrett on

        Oh Mr Kealey, it seems you too have been confused by the illusion that this blatant attempt at self promotion on the part of the pipe company is actually “art” at all. Like the Emperor with his non-existent suit of new clothes, the Town Council was flattered into believing that this “donation” was a wonderful gift to the town and responded accordingly. But fortunately this town has many people who, like the little boy in the old tale, are willing to speak the truth about the silly thing bobbing in the water. Please pay attention to them.

  23. Russell Nicholls on

    I couldn’t agree more with Mr McCaffery’s comment. Get it out of there. All it would take is $1000 from the mayor and each of the councillors. It would be money well spent!!!

    • I agree, 10K is a lot of money and if the town wanted to pay homage to Tom Thomson they could have provided money to our talented high school art students to make a display and the money go toward a college fund.

    • Tom Thomson has almost nothing to do with Huntsville, art is interpretive and I’m sure there are those that honestly believe his work is amazing but not all share that. I’m constantly surprised at the lack of interest this town has in its founder Capt George Hunt. A couple of photos in the town hall and that’s it.

  24. Right on Terry McCaffery, the survey is skewed in favour of the status quo. Most people will walk away from making a comment when they see it will cost taxpayers 10K to have it removed and/or that it needs to remain on the water, not on dry land.
    The decisions were made by the town council in agreement with the owner of Nydock, not by residents, now we are being told it will cost us 10K to have it removed?! It is an advertisement for Nydock. It is an affront to Tom Thomson to be called, Pipe Man. It ruins the vista in the centre of town…I could go on and on as I have before.
    Someone mentioned they could remove it for $3500. Hire that person; the councillors divide the cost between them, they pay it and be done with it. Return the pipe to Pipe Fusion to be erected in front of the business.

  25. I neglected to mention in my last post that it would appear that only one online response is allowed from each household. My husband was thwarted in his efforts to respond. Presumably since we share an e-address. Also, comments are restricted to 100 words on top of which, there is a time restriction. We will now need to go to the Town Hall to pick up a paper copy of the survey. Not only is it skewed, it is also not user friendly.

  26. This structure is doing what art is supposed to do- incite conversation. Nothing more nothing less!
    There was a town meeting where the populace could voice opinions but most seemed to miss it. I for one do not understand the overindulgence in the legend of Tom Thomson or the town’s love for a drunken philanderer, his art not withstanding!

  27. Just looks strange in such a beautiful river setting and I’m surprised that someone hasn’t added some color in the form of graffiti to try and improve on pipe man.

  28. Pamela Reed on

    From my house, I look at the Pipe Man every day. I do not think it’s attractive.
    I think it’s a hazard to boats and is encouraging kids to swim out to it. I just hope there is no accident this Summer. Please move it somewhere else!!,

  29. Andrew MacLeod on

    As a regular visitor to Huntsville and a regular reader of The Doppler, I am shocked at some of the shoot-from-the-hip comments by the people of Huntsville. This was a donation made by Nydock as well as many other donations they have freely made to the town. Nowhere does it mention their name on Pipe-Man so those who said it was an advertisement for Nydock are mistaken. That said, if the artwork is to be removed, it should be at the expense of the Town of Huntsville (i.e. you taxpayers).
    The cost to remove the artwork would probably exceed $10k. And there will remain a permanent 15 ton concrete weigh at the bottom of the river which holds the floating pipe in place. In addition, the pipe itself is like an iceberg…there is a lot of pipe below the surface of the water that you don’t see and it is filled with concrete. That would have to be removed with a crane. (has anyone rented a crane on water recently?)
    Some respondents have indicated that it would look better on land. IF the decision is taken to remove it from the river, then I would suggest that it be cut at what is the current water-line and erected somewhere else on land. It is artwork and should be appreciated. I bet there is a lot of uglier art in each of your homes!!

  30. Stan Dronseika on

    That survey is nothing more than an attempt by the town council to illicit covert agreement from the public to spend the 10K to remove that obscenity. That is why there is a 30′ depth requirement in the “moving it” solution. There are precious few spots in our system that are at the depth of 30′ that meet the other requirement.

  31. I think it’s an eyesore, looks terrible and I really don’t belong in such a publicly viewed spot.
    Donate it to Kathy Wynne, kind of matches her governing style.

  32. It is not pleasing to the eye, looking out into the river, and dangerous for the boating and swimming public. It needs to go.

  33. Is this a piece of sewer pipe left over from when they decided to put in sewers. Only ask as it sure looks like a floating turd.

  34. Joanne Pagendam on

    It’s embarrassing to have to explain it to visitors who ask what it is, why it’s there. I have no good answers for them ….I am appalled that we were not asked if we wanted it, and that we will have to pay after the fact to have it removed.

  35. Gayle McCaig on

    Perhaps the cost of removing it should come out of the people’s salary who voted for it in the first place since the taxpayers are paying their salaries.

  36. Charlie Olver on

    Every time I drive over the bridge and spot this ugly protuberance I get upset. It’s an eyesore and mars the naturalness of the river. Get rid of it ASAP at the owner’s expense.

  37. Terry Russell on

    Enough: the overwhelming weight of public option is clear.

    It is now time for the mayor & each councillor to stand in his or her place and declare — without equivocation — whether he or she is in favour scraping or removing the thing.

  38. Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick on

    It seems like this piece of art would fit best in an urban water setting, (i.e. Toronto’s Lakeshore) rather than the rural idyll of Huntsville. I understand the historical significance behind the piece as Nydock is an established business. Honoring Tom is also nice, but the structure, while impressive in its design, is much too angular to complement the smooth curvature of the river it sits in.

  39. Bonnie Branton on

    We were forced to ‘stand aside’, while those who allowed this gross mistake hoped we would lose interest or ‘get use to it’. I believe it’s had the opposite effect.
    Community tension appears to be increasing, Councils’ approval rating is at risk, the Towns’ Liability re swimmers & boaters could become a horrible new issue unfortunately.

    Please don’t ignore the obvious any longer. It is untrue that this pipe can only be in water – please.

    PIPEFUSION pls. remove your well-intentioned gift & place in front of your company in a beautiful garden setting with big, gorgeous granite boulders to balance its scale.
    It can be viewed with pride there.

    Respectfully, An Art Major who worked for major Internationsl Architectural firms.

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