Canadian Heritage reveals 5 designs for victims of communism memorial

Canadian Heritage has revealed plans prepared by five finalists in the competition to design the national Memorial to the Victims of Communism.

Winning design expected to be announced in April 2017


Finalists in the competition to design the national Memorial to the Victims of Communism revealed their plans on Thursday.

The proposals were put forward by five design teams, announced last November by Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly.

Canada, a Land of Refuge will be built in the Garden of the Provinces and Territories at Bay and Wellington streets, with construction expected to be completed in 2018.

Valued at $3 million, the cost of the monument will be split evenly between the federal government and Tribute to Liberty, the private group spearheading the project.

According to the federal government website, the memorial will recognize Canada's "role as a place of refuge for people fleeing injustice and persecution, and honour the millions oppressed by communist regimes."

Here are some images from the five finalists. Take a look and then vote on your favourite.

Team space2place

  • Designed by Vancouver-based landscape architect Jeff Cutler and Canadian artist Ken Lum.

Team Mills

  • Designed by Hamilton, Ont.-based public art consultants Karen and Ben Mills; landscape architects Silvano Tardella and Robert M. S. Ng; and artists Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier.

Team Moskaliuk

  • Designed by Wiktor Moskaliuk, a Markham, Ont., architect, with landscape architect Claire Bedat and artist Larysa Kurylas, both from Washington, D.C.

Team Raff

  • Designed by Toronto architect and artist Paul Raff, with Michael A. Ormston-Holloway, a designer and certified arborist, along with landscape architects Brett Hoornaert and Luke Kairys.

Team Reich+Petch Architects

  • Designed by Tony Reich, a Toronto architect, Catherine Widgery, an artist from Cambridge, Mass., and Matthew Sweig, a Toronto landscape architect.

The federal government is inviting Canadians to complete an online survey on the five designs.

A jury of design professionals will then consider feedback from the survey when it makes its recommendation to the heritage minister. The winning design will be announced in summer 2017.

Jury members include:

Larry Beasley: retired director of planning for the City of Vancouver, and the Distinguished Practice Professor of Planning at the University of British Columbia.

Ruth Derksen: professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia and a first-generation Canadian of Russian Mennonite descent.

Ludwik Klimkowski: chair of Tribute to Liberty — the private group spearheading the project — and vice-president of the Canadian Polish Congress for Canadian Affairs.

Ted Merrick: director of the design studio at Ferris + Associates and a founder of the Winter Stations Design Competition in Toronto.

Nadia Myre: a visual artist from Quebec and an Algonquin member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation.

Latest milestone for controversial monument

Spearheaded by Tribute to Liberty, the memorial was championed by the former Conservative government, which supported plans to have the monument built next to the Supreme Court of Canada building on Wellington Street.

Those plans attracted criticism, with opponents arguing the monument was too large for the parliamentary precinct, and dealt with subject matter that was not essentially Canadian.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson was among several local politicians opposed to having the Victims of Communism Monument built in front of the Supreme Court of Canada. (CBC)

The City of Ottawa waded into the controversy in May 2015, when council voted in favour of asking the federal government to move the site elsewhere.

Those calls were heeded by the new Liberal government, which in December 2016 said the monument should be moved farther west to the Garden of the Provinces and Territories.

The National Capital Commission later rescinded its decision to use the land in front of the Supreme Court building, and approved construction of the memorial in the Garden of the Provinces and Territories.