Burks Falls, Ontario, Canada: Camani's Screaming Heads

The crazy-looking Midlothian castle house and over 100 big, white, concrete 20 ft. tall sculptures, are grouped and scattered across farmland. Not for the easily-spooked.
Address:
Midlothian Rd, Burks Falls, ON, Canada
Directions:
From Burks Falls drive west on Hwy 520. When it bends sharply right, continue straight on Midlothian Rd for two miles. Cross the creek. The field will be on the left.
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Major Fun
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Screaming Heads. Camani's Screaming Heads

You're driving out in the country and you don't think you're going the right way, then suddenly you see fields of white, concrete "screaming heads" which look like giant archways with eyes. As you slow down, you come to a house which looks like something out of a gothic horror movie. Turrets are made of giant faces with red eyes, underneath overgrown vines. A huge fire-breathing, two-headed dragon sits atop. A castle-style guard wall separates the road from the yard. A gate decorated with a rusty metal sculpture of a guardian warrior is hidden in the wall.

You open the gate and a sign reads "What is it? It is Art. Why? Because it was not there." Another sign reads "Private residence -- enter at your own risk." You go through another gate and see the giant castle doors -- they are locked. You walk around to the back "yard" and see dozens of peahens and peacocks, ruffling their feathers in just the right kind of way to make you hesitate. You see a dungeon with bars on it and peer inside. There are shackles on the walls with real bones in them! A giant metal gate shaped like a spider web beckons you. Through the spider web gate is a field where you see crowds of screaming faces/skull discs that look as if they are dancing in a circle, laughing at you. There are rusty chains hanging from the mouths of these weed-choked cement structures. Turn around and look at the castle from a distance and you notice a gigantic head, mouth open, sitting on top of a tower. You walk down a path and see something move in a fenced-in area. It is an emu looking at you from inside the overgrown bushes! In another field, huge hands stick out of the ground and more screaming faces haunt you. Walking back towards the house, you realize that the tower with the head is also a sort of smoke stack and imagine what it would be like to see a fire coming from its mouth.

It is at this point, the artist, Peter Camani himself "comes home" and welcomes you to "walk freely" and answers any questions you may have. He opens the sliding glass doors to the basement and welcomes you inside. There are beautiful, realistic paintings inside and steep, narrow staircases that lead you up the towers. You can sign his guestbook or buy a shirt if you wish. He explains that an aerial view of this land will show you the shape of a dragon. Then he says he must get to work on his next project and you leave.

[C. Illman, 09/18/2004]

Oct. 2012: Photo added.

Camani's Screaming Heads

Cement sculptures of "The Screaming Heads," trees, gigantic spider webs holding down the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and more... Walking trails, peacocks, swans, geese, and ducks arounds the house and ponds.

[Marlow, 06/13/2003]

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