Ottawa

Stanley Cup monument scaled back after donors told they couldn't have names on it

Designs for Lord Stanley's Gift Monument had to be scaled back after private donors refused to pay up once they realized they couldn't have their names on the monument, documents reveal.

8 finalist designs for Lord Stanley's Gift Monument will be unveiled Thursday evening

Next year will mark the 125th anniversary of Lord Stanley's donation of the cup named in his honour that continues to symbolize the pinnacle of hockey excellence in Canada. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The eight finalist designs for Lord Stanley's Gift Monument will be unveiled Thursday evening at the Canada Council for the Arts. But those designs will likely be scaled-back versions of what was originally envisioned.

The budget for the monument was downsized after private donors refused to fork over cash once they realized they couldn't have their names on the monument, documents reveal.

In fact, the project memorializing the donor of the Stanley Cup is being financed mostly by taxpayer dollars.

For years, plans have been underway to build and install a monument to Lord Frederick Stanley who, in 1892, donated the cup that has come to symbolize the heights of hockey excellence.

However, raising funds for the project has been a challenge.

Monument paid for by taxpayers

The original budget was $4.4 million, but was reduced to $2.8 million after the group behind the project failed to attract private-sector partners, according to Canadian Heritage documents released to the CBC under an access to information request.

The problem? Private donors only wanted to donate to the project if their names could be on it.

"Though the project generated much interest, organizers realized that there was little real estate to highlight partners and their contribution within the project, with potential partners wishing to be recognized on the monument itself," stated the Canadian Heritage briefing note.

The document goes on to say that the budget scale-back would mostly affect landscaping and not diminish the impact of the project.

According to the documents, Canadian Heritage approved funding last March of $2.15 million — more than three-quarters of the budget. The City of Ottawa has contributed at least $50,000 and is giving permission for the monument to be erected on city land at Elgin and Sparks Street.

Location controversial

The sculpture Territorial Prerogative has been a fixture of downtown Ottawa for more than 20 years. It will be moved next week to make room for the monument to Lord Stanley. (CBC)

The prominent location — secured after the first choice of a 20-metre monument at Rideau Street and Sussex Drive fell through — caused some controversy when it was first announced.

That's because Lord Stanley Monument will displace Territorial Prerogative, the bronze sculpture of a mother bear, to the corner of Sparks and Metcalfe Street. Artist Bruce Garner's widow Tamaya Garner was furious when she found out about it through the media in 2013. However, she has since participated in the plan to reunite the bear with the salmon and cub sculptures that had been removed to prevent potential damage.

The artwork will be relocated next week over three days.

The groundbreaking for the Lord Stanley monument is expected to take place in March, on the 125th anniversary of the donation of the famed cup during a four-day hockey-themed celebration planned for the capital. The monument should be unveiled in December 2017.

PRESENTATION BY EIGHT FINALIST DESIGN TEAMS

WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 22. 5 to 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Canada Council for the Arts, Âjagemô Gallery, 1st floor, 150 Elgin St.

COMMENT: View the designs at lordstanleysgift.com, and email comments to hello@lordstanleysgift.com by Oct. 7.

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