Canada launches design contest for its new, LGBTQ national monument

A Pride flag near Parliament Hill, Ottawa
A Pride flag near Parliament Hill, Ottawa (Photo: Ottawa Tourism)

An international competition has been launched to find a design for a major LGBTQ monument set to be built in Ottawa, Canada.

Local authorities have set aside CA$4.8million (US$3.7million) for the “LGBTQ2+ National Monument”, which is to commemorate gay, bi, trans and two-spirit people who faced discrimination in the past.

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The competition is open to professional artists, architects and designers, and the deadline is January 5, 2021. The contest is being run through the Department of Canadian Heritage.

The site of the monument will be on the northeast side of Wellington Street near the ­Portage Bridge, next to the Ottawa River.

In a statement, the Department of Canadian Heritage said, “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.

Parliament Hill, Ottawa
Parliament Hill, Ottawa (Photo: Ottawa Tourism)

“The site will have the capacity to host gatherings of as many as 2,000 people and balance public visibility and space for contemplation.”

Gay and trans communities in Canada faced a systemic employment purge between the 1950s and 1990s, resulting in many losing their jobs in the military, police and other federal organizations. The country has since apologized for the purge, and offered compensation to those affected. The forthcoming national monument is a further act of apology and memorialization.

In a statement about the contest launch, Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth said, “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.”

A couple visit the Peacekeeping Monument, Ottawa
A couple visit the Peacekeeping Monument, Ottawa (Photo: Ottawa Toursim)

The initial competition will draw up a shortlist of designs, which the public will be allowed to view before a final design is chosen. The monument is hoped to be completed by 2025.

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