Nova Scotia

Mother Canada statue would be economic boon for Canso, says councillor

If the controversial Mother Canada statue doesn't go in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, the community of Canso could be an option, says a municipal councillor who represents the area.

Fin Armsworthy says Canso's geographic location makes it a good option

A new group is trying to stop the construction of this giant war memorial in Cape Breton. 0:28

If the controversial Mother Canada statue doesn't go in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, the community of Canso could be an option, says a municipal councillor who represents the area.

The Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation wants to build an eight-storey statue — dubbed Mother Canada — in Green Cove to commemorate Canada's war dead.

Opponents say the site in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park is not appropriate.

Fin Armsworthy represents the Canso area on the council for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough. He says the statue could be an economic boon for the area.

"Where we have outward migration, economic lows in our area due to the fishery that we always had, this could bring a big impact back to our community, especially in tourism in the summer months," said Armsworthy.

He's watched the controversy unfold in northern Cape Breton and says as the most easterly point on Canada's mainland, Canso is a logical alternative.

The Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation wants to build a $25 million statue to Canada's war dead that would be 24 metres high and feature a woman with her arms outstretched toward Europe. (Never Forgotten Memorial Foundation)

Plans for the proposed memorial call for the statue of Mother Canada to face east towards Europe, to honour Canadians who died at war overseas.

Armsworthy thinks the statue would be a fitting tribute to Canada's veterans. He says his grandfather served in the First World War.

"Anything we can do for the veterans, the ones that passed and especially the ones that are serving now too, we have to do whatever we can for them," said Armsworthy.

He says he's talked with a few people in Canso who are enthusiastic about the idea and plans to canvass his fellow municipal councillors at their meeting next week.

The project, proposed by the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation and approved by Parks Canada, is to build the war memorial on a nearly one-hectare piece of land.

The memorial's centrepiece Mother Canada statue would be 24 metres high and feature a woman with her arms outstretched toward Europe. The plan also includes parking for 300 vehicles, a restaurant, souvenir shop and an interpretive centre.

It's scheduled to be completed in 2017.

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