A winning design has been chosen in Canada’s quest to create an official national LGBTQ2+ monument in Ottawa.
Winnipeg-based Team Wreford won for its entry titled “Thunderhead,” a sculptural pavilion in the form of a thunderhead cloud mounted upon a stage that allows space for activities, protest, and performance art. The main column is clad in mirrored tiles and surrounded by a curving wall that displays the history of Canada’s Gay Purge from its beginnings during the Cold War to its eventual end in the early 1990s.
The team is composed of architects Liz Wreford and Peter Sampson from architecture and landscape architecture firm Public City Inc., artists Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, and Albert McLeod, an Indigenous & Two-Spirited People subject-matter expert and advisor with ancestral ties to the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and Métis community.
Team Wreford’s submission beat out four other entries from across Canada and the United States for the chance to design the memorial, which has been in the works since the establishment of the LGBTQ Purge Fund in 2018. The Fund was established as part of a class-action lawsuit settled against the Canadian government that year, and now manages the memorial conceived of as a way to “tell the story of generations of LGBTQ2+ people in Canada who have been persecuted, abused, dismissed, and marginalized because of who they love and how they identify.”
“I’m moved by the stories that inspired your design, and I look forward to the ceremonies and commemorations that will fill the space,” Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth for Canada, told the winning team. “Your design embodies resilience, truth, and hope in a pivotal time in our history. As reflected in your ‘Thunderhead’ design, we acknowledge the wrongs of the past and we are committed to building a better future. This monument is an important step towards honoring survivors and building an inclusive Canada that stands alongside LGBTQ2 communities from coast to coast to coast.”
Detailed design development will come next followed by a construction phase that is projected to be finished in time for 2025. A minimum budget of $8 million CAD ($6.4 million USD) has been approved for the project. Stay tuned to Archinect for more updates as the monument draws closer to completion.
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