Canada’s Victims of Communism memorial proceeds with new design

The Victims of Communism memorial, a monument initially spearheaded by Canada’s previous conservative government and a community group of Canadians of Eastern European and Asian origins called Tribute to Liberty, will proceed after the selection of a design by architect Paul Raff. The Toronto-based architect’s central design element is a massive arch, running from east to west, and comprised of some 4,000 bronze rods. The monument’s total price tag is set at $3 million, of which $1.5 million is being contributed by the Government of Canada. The remaining half was fundraised by Tribute to Liberty and includes $25,000 that the group received from Hungary’s anti-immigrant Orbán regime.

According to the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the monument emphasizes Canada’s “role as a place of refuge for people fleeing injustice and persecution, and honours the millions oppressed by communist regimes.”

The Raff design team added that the monument “memorializes every moment of the vast millions of moments of suffering of victims. But it also expresses resilience and hope…”

Team Raff design

The design was chosen from a group of four finalists. The monument will be erected in the Garden of the Provinces and Territories in 2018, near the corner of Wellington street and just on the western edge of downtown Ottawa. Earlier and more grandiose plans supported by the previous conservative government would have seen a far larger and more expensive monument erected directly in front of the Supreme Court of Canada. These initial plans, and the lack of proper consultation, faced widespread controversy and opposition from many prominent leaders in the capital, including from Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. The revised plan calls for a more modest, less polemical monument and seems to have garnered wider support.

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