Mother Canada supporters say memorial would boost tourism

People who want a war memorial built in Green Cove in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park gathered at the site on Sunday to show their support.

About 180 people came out in support of Mother Canada memorial in Green Cove

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

People who want a war memorial built in Green Cove in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park gathered at the site on Sunday to show their support.

A private foundation in Ontario is behind the plans to build the eight-storey Mother Canada statue.

Neil MacKinnon of New Waterford, volunteers with veterans organizations. He spoke in support of the war memorial in Green Cove on Sunday. (Joan Weeks/CBC)

The organization, called the Never Forgotten Memorial Foundation, is planning to build the 24-metre tall statue — called Mother Canada — in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park at Green Cove. It's a memorial to soldiers whose remains were never brought home to Canada.

The organization is trying to raise between $25 million and $60 million for the project. It has declined to say how much has been raised to date.

The memorial would be built on a stretch of the trail between Ingonish and Neils Harbour. Mother Canada is the memorial's centrepiece, featuring a woman with her arms outstretched toward Europe.

Some critics, including former Parks Canada staff, do not feel the statue is appropriate for a Parks Canada site. They want it located outside the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

But some of the local residents who gathered Sunday say they think Green Cove is the perfect location.

"It's a great thing to commemorate our veterans. As well, I think it's actually going to bring more tourists to this part of Nova Scotia who otherwise would not come," said Greg Capstick from Dingwall.

​The organizer of the gathering was Lisa MacLeod of Ingonish. She said, she wanted a public show of support to combat some of the criticism the project has been receiving.

"Well, because I think there was too much negativity about it. We needed more positivity. And I wanted people to come see what we're talking about," she said.

About 180 people attended the rally, several speaking with emotion about ancestors and relatives who fought for Canada. Many said, those who do not support the Mother Canada project are not respecting our veterans.

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