2SLGBTQI+ National Monument
The 2SLGBTQI+ National Monument will memorialize historic discrimination against 2SLGBTQI+ people in Canada, including during the LGBT Purge. The Purge was a prolonged and widespread campaign led by the Government of Canada to identify and expel thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the federal public service. The Purge began in the 1950s and continued until the 1990s. The Monument will reflect the profound impacts of discrimination experienced by Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ communities, as well as celebrate the achievements of those who fought for equality, educate visitors, and inspire hope and change for the future.
Canadian Heritage is facilitating the development of the Monument in partnership with the LGBT Purge Fund, the project proponent and funder of the Monument. The National Capital Commission will be responsible for the design development and construction of the Monument.
The creation of the Monument is mandated by a Federal Court of Canada order. Completion of the Monument is planned for 2025.
The Monument will be prominently located at the north-east side of the intersection of Wellington Street and Portage Bridge, close to the Ottawa River. Centrally located, this site offers views of the Judicial Precinct, a balance of public visibility and space for contemplation as well as the ability to host large gatherings.
Thunderhead, a design created by Team Wreford (Public City, architecture and landscape architecture, Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, visual artists, Albert McLeod, Indigenous and Two-Spirited People subject-matter expert and advisor) has been selected for this monument. This design draws on the symbolism of a thunderhead cloud, which embodies the strength, activism and hope of 2SLGBTQI+ communities. It will be a lasting testimony to the courage and humanity of those who were harmed by the LGBT Purge, homophobic and transphobic laws and norms and Canada’s colonial history. Elements include a sculpture that creates the imprint of a thunderhead cloud in mirrored tile, a pathway through a landscaped park that traces the history of 2SLGBTQI+ people in Canada and a healing circle ringed with stones hand-picked by Two-Spirit Elders. The Monument surroundings will allow for large gatherings, performances and places for quiet reflection.
Teams of professional artists, landscape architects, architects, and other urban design professionals were invited to submit their credentials and examples of work on similar projects as part of a Request for Qualifications that closed on January 5, 2021.
Five teams were shortlisted to develop design concepts for this monument by a jury with expertise 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. Members of the jury were:
- Aaron Betsky, architect
- Maya Desai, urban designer and planner
- 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
LGBT Purge survivors, 2SLGBTQI+ community members, stakeholders and rightsholders and people across Canada were invited to share their thoughts on the designs by taking a survey that ran from November 15 to November 28, 2021. You can view the survey results here.
In its evaluation, the jury considered the results of this survey along with the comments from the Monument Advisory Committee and Indigenous Circle, the National Capital Commission's Advisory Committee on Planning, Design and Realty and experts in conservation, landscape, engineering and costing. Based on the jury's selection, the LGBT Purge Fund and the Government of Canada announced that the design created by Team Wreford was selected for the Monument.
The next steps are the detailed development of the winning design followed by construction of the Monument.
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