You can read what happened to the Chimeric Figure in the following (see end of this post) pdf document from McMaster University. I've also pasted the article below.
John Ivor Smith is, to this day, the Artsy that has made the most impact on McMaster Engineers. At the young age of 13, Smith moved from England to Montréal in 1940 as a refugee from the Second World War. In 1948 he graduated from McGill University with a degree in physics. He was a remarkable inventor with a keen appreciation for aesthetics and drawing, and spent years working for the Northern Electric Company (now known as Nortel).
Smith’s neighbour, Sylvia Tait, convinced him to take evening art classes at the School of Art and Design at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts. He studied under Jacques de Tonnancour where he won two scholarships in drawing and one in sculpture. It was here that Smith developed his passion for sculpture, and in 1957 he won a Canada Council Fellowship, enabling him to spend a year in Italy to work and study the ancient techniques of casting.
Smith had a big advantage over his Artsy colleagues – he was an Engineer at heart, with a university degree in physics, and design experience with an electrical engineering firm. He developed a novel technique to very accurately enlarge models well before computers had the capabilities to; this revolutionized the craft of monumental sculpting.
Two of his immense standing figures were a part of only eleven sculptures commissioned by the House of Seagram for Montreal’s Expo 67. The Chimeric Figure had
a welded steel substructure and a einforced polyester resin exterior. It was displayed throughout the duration of the worldwide exposition and was part of the “Man and His World” exhibition organized by the city of Montreal. Later that year, the statues were dispersed across Canada to interested public institutions; McMaster chose to pursue the Chimeric Figure.
The statue stood in the arts quad for twenty years. According to E. Togo Salmon, Vice-President of Arts, McMaster selected the statue and location because the statue’s “mythic content would make it a most appropriate centre of interest in that part of our campus devoted to humanistic studies”. Unfortunately, during its lifetime at McMaster, the name Chimeric Figure never stuck. It became known as the Headless Titbird, because, well, that’s exactly what it was. The Headless Titbird once stood in the Arts Quad.
Unfortunately, during its lifetime at McMaster, the name Chimeric Figure never stuck. It became known as the Headless Titbird, because, well, that’s exactly what it was. The statue suffered through the rough Canadian climate for years, and eventually began to rust and deteriorate. As usual, the Engineers came to the rescue. They embraced the statue’s beauty. Its rigid members, full penetrating butt welds, lack of lubrication failure, all of it! They kept the statue protected from the elements with spectacular costumes and lingerie, making sure to always cover the breasts with Mac Eng stickers. Super Plumber graced the Titbird in Frosh Week by leaping off its shoulders into the arms of adoring Frosh.
It also served as a popular shrine for Kipling pranks gifts. All of it was done in the statue’s best interests, of course. These traditions continued for twenty years and in 1987, the statue suddenly disappeared; the Headless Titbird had flown away. Interestingly, the Titbird didn’t get very far;; it was caught by the McMaster Museum of Art, its wings were clipped, and it was held captive for decades. Over the years, the story of the Headless Titbird transformed from candid reality to mere myth, until one fateful day in October 2009, the statue resurfaced. Facing Main Street West, the Headless Titbird was found on the second floor of the newly erected
Engineering Technology Building.
As it turns out, the Faculty of Engineering paid to restore the Titbird after retrieving it from the Faculty of Humanities. Unfortunately for the Artsies, the story doesn’t have a happy ending. The empty pedestal remaining in the Arts Quad serves as a tribute to their lack of foresight regarding the elements, erosion and Canada’s tough climate. Now the Headless Titbird sits inside the gorgeous flagship engineering building, protected from the elements. It is a trophy, once displayed in the Arts Quad and now proudly showcased to local Hamiltonians, demonstrating once again, Mac Eng has prevailed.