Memorial to the Victims of Communism — Canada, a Land of Refuge

The Memorial to the Victims of Communism – Canada, a Land of Refuge will recognize Canada's international role as a place of refuge for people fleeing injustice and persecution and honour the millions who suffered under communist regimes.

Canadian Heritage is facilitating the development of the monument in partnership with Tribute to Liberty. The National Capital Commission will take responsibility for the construction of the Memorial.

Important Note: Although the Memorial to the Victims of Communism – Canada a Land of Refuge was scheduled to be inaugurated by the end of 2023, the Government of Canada is doing its due diligence to ensure all aspects of the Memorial remain compatible with Canadian values on democracy and human rights.

The Government of Canada is committed to completing this project. The Memorial will be inaugurated in 2024, at a date to be selected in consultation with the main proponent of the project, Tribute to Liberty.

The site

The Memorial will be built just west of the terraces of the Garden of the Provinces and Territories in Ottawa. This intimate site borders Confederation Boulevard and the Parliamentary and Judicial Precincts and is situated near key federal institutions, including Library and Archives Canada.

Aerial view with an arrow pointing to the site on the Garden of the Provinces and Territories for the Memorial.
Landscape of the Garden of the Provinces and Territories with Library and Archives building in the background.

The design

Image of The winning design chosen for the Memorial to the Victims of Communism
Rendering of design concept for the Arc of Memory

The winning design chosen for the Memorial to the Victims of Communism is "Arc of Memory." This concept was submitted by Team Raff, a group of architects and landscape architects based in Toronto that includes Paul Raff (artist and architect), Michael A. Ormston-Holloway (designer and certified arborist), Brett Hoornaert (landscape architectural intern) and Luke Kairys (landscape architect). "Arc of Memory" is a sculptural array of over 4,000 bronze rods intended to express the vastness of communist oppression and invite visitors to reflect on Canada as a free and welcoming country.

Design competition

In fall 2016, teams of professional artists, landscape architects, architects, and other urban design professionals were invited to provide their credentials and examples of prior work.

A distinguished jury of design professionals and content specialists was assembled to evaluate the concepts for this competition. The jury was composed of five members: Alexandra Badzak (Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Ottawa Art Gallery); Larry Beasley, C.M. (retired Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver); Ruth Derksen, Ph.D. (Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia); Ludwik Klimkowski, (Board Chair of Tribute to Liberty); Ted Merrick (Director of the design studio at Ferris + Associates).

A public viewing of the finalists' design concepts was held on March 2, 2017, where attendees could view the presentations, meet the design teams, and share their thoughts. Canadians from across the country were also invited to comment on the designs through an online survey that ran from March 2–10, 2017. The survey results are available here.

The jury considered this feedback along with the comments from 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 recommendation, the Government of Canada announced that the design presented by Team Raff has been selected for the future Memorial.

Page details

Date modified: