Firefighter monument designs go on display
Five designs for a monument dedicated to Canadian firefighters who died in the line of duty were displayed to the public for the first time on Thursday, with work from artists including Douglas Coupland, Ken Lum and Myfanwy Macleod.
The finalists in the design competition for the Canadian Firefighters Memorial were unveiled Thursday evening at the National Capital Commission in Ottawa.
Proposals for the monument included designs such as a giant firepole that acts as a lightning rod, protecting a tree and monument underneath; a wave of names of fallen firefighters that flow across like water; and an 11-meter-long, 4¼-metre-high wall of fire.
The monument, expected to be completed and unveiled in March 2012, will be located at LeBreton Flats, near the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. The capital commission donated the land for the monument.
Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation, the charity working to build the monument, says over 1,000 firefighters have died in the line of duty in Canada since 1848.
Coupland, Lum among finalists
The finalists include Douglas Coupland, known chiefly as a novelist (Generation X, Girlfriend in a Coma, jPod ), who submitted a proposal along with Toronto-based architecture firm PLANT Architect Inc.
Coupland said he hopes his design for a prominent flagpole alongside other elements of the monument would be an easy-to-see reminder of the valued role firefighters play in making people safer.
"I'd like it to be that every time you saw it you got a little hit of something in your brain that said danger lurks … and what is the whole nature of safety and what does it mean to be protected and what does it mean to be dedicated to what's a very dangerous job," said Coupland.
Vancouver sculptor and artist Ken Lum, who is working with Toronto firm architectsAlliance, said the subject matter hit home during a presentation of his design to the competition committee and firefighters.
"During the presentation there was a moment when I felt like I wanted to cry because of the presence of all of these uniformed men and women sitting there as observers and I just found that all of the sudden it was all very real," said Lum.
"To see so many more and knowing what they do in saving people's life and saving my life I found just very moving," he said.
The other finalists are:
- Barbara Steinman (Montreal) / Fleisher Ridout Partnership (Toronto).
- Myfanwy Macleod (Vancouver) / Ferris & Associates (Toronto).
- Rose-Marie E. Goulet (Montreal) /VLAN Paysages and Urban Soland (Montreal).
A jury is expected to choose the winning design this September.