Canadian Heritage launches national design competition for LGBTQ2+ National Monument

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Department of Canadian Heritage is seeking teams of professional artists, landscape architects, architects and urban design professionals to submit credentials and examples of work for consideration as part of the Request for Qualifications for the LGBTQ2+ National Monument.

Steven Guilbeault, minister of Canadian Heritage, the Bardish Chagger, minister of diversity and jnclusion and youth, and the LGBT purge fund—the project proponent—issued the request in cooperation with the National Capital Commission.

The deadline for submissions is Jan. 5, 2021.

The monument site will be located at the northeast side of Wellington Street near the ¬Portage Bridge, next to the Ottawa River, close to the Judicial Precinct. The LGBT Purge Fund selected the site after consultations with LGBTQ2+ communities. The NCC approved the choice of site in January 2020.

It will memorialize “the profound impact of the discrimination experienced by Canada’s LGBTQ2+ communities and will celebrate the achievements of those who fought for equality” ad help educate visitors and inspire hope as well as change for the future. The site will have the capacity to host gatherings of as many as 2,000 people and balance public visibility and space for contemplation.

“I am confident Canada’s design community can create a fitting memorial telling the story of those who were persecuted, dismissed and marginalized,” Guilbeault said. “Thousands of lives were devastated during the Purge. Careers were ruined and families were torn apart. I thank the LGBT Purge Fund for its vision of a monument that will inspire us to strive for a future that is free of LGBTQ2+ discrimination.”

The design competition jury will include experts in the fields of visual arts, landscape architecture, architecture, urban design as well as LGBT Purge survivors, representatives from key stakeholder groups, and subject-matter specialists. They will review the submissions and select up to five teams, who will then be invited to prepare design proposals for the monument. The jury is comprised of the following members:

  • Aaron Betsky, architect
  • Maya Desai, architect and urban designer
  • Michelle Douglas, Executive Director, LGBT Purge Fund, and LGBT Purge survivor
  • Grant Fahlgren, landscape architect
  • Reverend Dr. Brent Hawkes, C.M., O.N.B, subject-matter expert
  • Bernard Lamarche, art historian and curator
  • Ann-Marie Macdonald, O.C., author, actor, playwright, affected community member
  • Courtnay McFarlane, visual artist, poet and curator
  • Martine Roy, Chair of the Board of Directors, LGBT Purge Fund, and LGBT Purge survivor
  • Megan Torza, architect and urban designer

The LGBT Purge Fund is a not-for-profit corporation established in 2018 to manage memorialization and reconciliation projects mandated by the settlement. They are responsible for building an LGBTQ2+ National Monument that will “memorialize the historical discrimination against LGBTQ2+ people in Canada, including with respect to the LGBT Purge.” As the proponent of the project, the LGBT Purge Fund is providing $8 million for the project and is working with Canadian Heritage and the NCC to ensure the monument meets the objectives of the settlement agreement and embodies the vision developed with Purge survivors and Canada’s wider LGBTQ2+ community.

“The Purge was a disgraceful period in Canadian history. It had an effect not only on those who faced discrimination, but all members of LGBTQ2+ communities across the country. Unless we learn from our history, we are bound to repeat it. This monument will remind us that we must challenge normative values that perpetuate oppression in our society,” Chagger said.

This first phase of the design competition will evaluate qualifications and select up to five teams to continue to the Request for Proposals phase in 2021, when the finalists will be invited to develop their design concepts.

Members of LGBTQ2+ communities and the public will be invited to review the finalists’ proposals before a design is chosen.

The monument is scheduled to be completed by 2025.

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