Canadian Heritage launches national design competition for LGBTQ2+ National Monument

The Department of Canadian Heritage is seeking teams of professional artists, landscape architects, architects and urban design professionals  to submit their examples of work for consideration as part of the Request for Qualifications for the LGBTQ2+ National Monument.

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.

As the proponent of the project, the LGBT Purge Fund is providing $8 million 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.

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.

According to Canadian Heritage, the monument site will be located at the northeast side of Wellington Street, near the­Portage Bridge. The site is next to the Ottawa River and 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 site will have the capacity to host gatherings of as many as 2,000 people and balance public visibility and space for contemplation.

A jury of 10 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 will review the submissions and select up to five teams. The teams will then be invited to prepare design proposals for the monument.

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.

“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,” said Guilbeault.

The monument is scheduled to be completed by 2025. The submission deadline is January 5, 2021.

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