Design Competition for LGBTQ2+ National Monument Launches
OTTAWA, October 16, 2020
A major step has been taken toward creating a national monument remembering the historic discrimination against LGBTQ2+ people in Canada, including those who suffered and continue to suffer due to the LGBT Purge between the 1950s and the 1990s.
Teams of professional artists, landscape architects, architects and other urban design professionals are invited to submit their credentials and examples of work for consideration as part of the Request for Qualifications for the LGBTQ2+ National Monument. The deadline is January 5, 2021. The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, and the LGBT Purge Fund—the project proponent—issued the request in cooperation with the National Capital Commission.
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.
The Monument 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. It will also 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.
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. The jury 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 refers to the period when LGBT members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian federal public service faced systematic discrimination, harassment and often firings due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression as a matter of policy and sanctioned practice.
Over time, survivors and their allies worked hard to secure apologies, gain recognition, win compensation, and change Canadian law. A ground-breaking settlement was reached in 2018. Canada was the first country in the world to provide substantial compensation for the harm inflicted on its own people through decades of state-sponsored discrimination.
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.
“I am confident Canada’s design community can create a fitting memorial telling the story of those who were persecuted, dismissed and marginalized. 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 Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage
“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.”
— The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth
“The LGBTQ2+ National Monument will be an enduring and important marker to commemorate the deep, state-sanctioned discrimination experienced by LGBTQ2+ people in Canada for many decades. The LGBT Purge Fund is proud to provide the funding for this project and to ensure that that the voices of the LGBTQ2+ community are extensively consulted on the vision for this project.”
— Michelle Douglas, Executive Director, LGBT Purge Fund
- 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.