Shortlisted designs unveiled for LGBTQ2+ National Monument

Public input invited on the five proposals; online survey closes November 28, 2021.

The shortlisted design proposals for the LGBTQ2+ National Monument have been unveiled. The monument will be located in downtown Ottawa, at the intersection of Wellington Street and Portage Bridge.

The five shortlisted teams were announced in February, and include architects Public City Architecture, bbb Architects, Two Row Architect with MVRDV, SOM, and MASS design group.

The LGBTQ2+ National Monument will tell the story of generations of LGBTQ2+ people in Canada who have been persecuted, abused, dismissed and marginalized because of who they desire and how they identify. It will acknowledge discrimination experienced by LGBTQ2+ communities and the abuse perpetrated by the Canadian state, including during the LGBT Purge. While recognizing enduring injury and injustice, the LGBTQ2+ National Monument will educate, memorialize, celebrate and inspire. It will be guided by principles of inclusion, Indigeneity, visibility and timelessness.

The LGBT Purge Fund is the project proponent and funder of the Monument. It is working in partnership with Canadian Heritage, which is facilitating the development of the Monument in collaboration with the National Capital Commission. Completion of the Monument is planned for 2025.

Between the 1950s and mid-1990s, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian federal public service were systematically discriminated against, harassed and often fired as a matter of policy. In what came to be known as the “LGBT Purge,” people were followed, interrogated, arrested, abused and traumatized. The LGBT Purge was implemented at the highest levels of the Government of Canada and devastated an estimated 9,000 lives.

In 2018, a historic class action settlement was reached between Purge survivors and the Canadian government. While the majority of the settlement was paid to survivors, funds were also earmarked for memorialization and commemoration. The LGBTQ2+ National Monument is being financed exclusively through funds that would have been paid to victims of the Purge who died before they could receive a settlement from the lawsuit.

The five shortlisted proposals include:


Team Durling: Fathom Studio, visual arts and landscape architecture (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia), MVRDV, architecture and landscape architecture (Rotterdam, Netherlands), Two Row Architect (Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario)

Team MASS: MASS Design Group, architecture, landscape architecture and urban design (Boston, Massachusetts), Stephen Andrews, artist (Toronto, Ontario)

Team OnCommon Ground: bbb architects (Ottawa, Ontario); PWP Landscape Architects (Berkeley, California), WSP, engineering (Ottawa, Ontario); Nadia Myre, Algonquin visual artist (Montréal, Quebec)

Team SOM: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), architecture (New York, New York); Noam Gonick, artist (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Rebecca Belmore, artist (Lac Seul First Nation, Ontario), HTFC Planning and Design, landscape architecture (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

Team Wreford: Public City, architecture and landscape architecture (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, visual artists (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Albert McLeod, Indigenous & Two-Spirited People subject-matter expert and advisor (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

The full proposals, along with a short survey seeking public input on how well the proposals address the Monument’s vision and the specific challenges of this design competition, can be viewed here. The survey runs until November 28, 2021.