The second-largest monument in Canada's capital, Ottawa, might soon be a large and very literal memorial to victims of communism. But as the project's many critics point out: Canada has never been a communist country. The new monument is imagined as a tribute to the millions of people who fled communist countries for Canada. The biggest dispute, however, concerns not the memorial's subject matter, but the project's prime location: smack dab in the middle of the Parliament Hill, directly across from the Canadian Supreme Court.
The project is being led by a non-profit group called Tribute to Liberty, and has the support of the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. But it's not just architects who are against the memorial's design and location; the chief justice of the country's Supreme Court and the mayor of Ottawa have also jumped into the fray. Toronto architect Shirley Blumberg, told The Globe and Mail, that the location of the communist memorial was "deeply problematic." Parliament Hill is "the core of Canada's democracy, historically and today."
The winning design was chosen from just 20 submissions, and is a rigid and somewhat dismal structure designed by Toronto architect Voytek Gorczynski and ABSTRAKT studio. The structure features a "Bridge of Hope," where visitors can walk and look out onto a concrete form covered a hundred million tiny squares (one for each victim of Communist regimes, according to the architect.) Also on the site are several large jagged structures that, when viewed from the bridge, would display a pixelated image that has yet to be decided upon. The current idea is a reproduced photograph of corpses in a Polish forest (pictured in the rendering above.)
The general consensus seems to be: why use such a central location for a monument about political wrongs committed outside of Canada, instead of say, a courthouse that could fit nicely with the adjacent Supreme Court and Justice Building?
·A walk down Wellington Street: Exploring Ottawa's contentious communism memorial [The Globe and Mail]
· All Controversies posts [Curbed National]