Memorial to the Victims of Communism to be built at new location
Advocating for the protection of Ottawa's built heritage and cultural landscapes is an ongoing effort for Heritage Ottawa, but it isn't everyday that our advocacy efforts receive such widespread attention and support.
Last year, in the midst of a national controversy, Heritage Ottawa joined forces with The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), architect Shirley Blumberg and architect Barry Padolsky to file an injunction against the federal government in order to prevent the start of construction of the proposed 'Memorial to the Victims of Communism' on a prominent site adjacent to the Supreme Court of Canada. This site has been long-reserved for a Federal Court building to complete the "Judicial Triad" in keeping with the National Capital Commission's prior approved Long Term Vision and Plan for Canada's Parliamentary and Judicial Precincts.
This issue came to the public's attention in September 2014, when architect Barry Padolsky wrote an open letter of concern to then Prime Minister Stephen Harper. During the following months, a coalition of supporters including the Canadian Association of Landscape Architects and the Canadian Institute of Planners tried to persuade the federal government to reconsider the proposed Memorial's location. Thousands of citizens across the country added their voices of concern. The controversy captured even the attention of The New York Times.
When efforts to persuade the federal government to choose a more appropriate site for the Memorial failed, the decision was made to file an injunction. As a result, progess on the proposed Memorial was delayed until after the October 2015 federal election.
Heritage Ottawa welcomed Minister Joly's announcement on December 17, 2015 that the proposed Memorial to the Victims of Communism will not be erected adjacent to the Supreme Court of Canada and will be moved to the Garden of the Provinces and Territories, the site that had originally been proposed. Consultations on the site and a new design will begin shortly. Landscape architect and Heritage Ottawa Board Member Linda Dicaire will represent Heritage Ottawa at the consultations.
When a fundraising campaign was launched last year to help cover the costs of the legal action, donations in trust poured in from Ottawa and beyond.
We are pleased to announce that after all legal fees were covered, donation funds of just over $8,000 remained. These funds have now been donated to the United Way / Centraide Ottawa to assist with its work in helping to resettle Syrian refugees. On Tuesday, a cheque was presented to the United Way at a gathering of supporters at Ottawa's Courtyard Café.
Heritage Ottawa is pleased to have played a part in preserving this important location in Canada's capital for its intended purpose, and for helping to restore sound planning for a new memorial design at a more appropriate location. We are grateful for your support. Thank-you.