LGBTQ2+ National Monument shortlist announced

The Canadian and international arts and design community has demonstrated significant interest in Canada’s LGBTQ2+ National Monument with more than 30 submissions to the Request for Qualifications (RFQ). The RFQ opened on October 16, 2020, and closed on January 5, 2021.

The shortlisted five teams will submit design proposals for the Monument:

  • Team Durling: Fathom Studio, visual arts and landscape architecture (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia), MVRDV, architecture and landscape architecture (Rotterdam, Netherlands), Two Row Architect (Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario)
  • Team MASS: MASS Design Group, architecture, landscape architecture and urban design (Boston, Massachusetts), Stephen Andrews, artist (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Team OnCommon Ground: bbb architects (Ottawa, Ontario); PWP Landscape Architects (Berkeley, California), WSP, engineering (Ottawa, Ontario); Nadia Myre, Algonquin visual artist (Montréal, Quebec)
  • Team SOM: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), architecture (New York, New York); Noam Gonick, artist (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Rebecca Belmore, artist (Lac Seul First Nation, Ontario), HTFC Planning and Design, landscape architecture (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
  • Team Wreford: Public City, architecture and landscape architecture (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, visual artists (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Albert McLeod, Indigenous & Two-Spirited People subject-matter expert and advisor (Winnipeg, Manitoba)      

The design teams have until August 2021 to complete their proposals. The design concepts will be evaluated by the same jury that reviewed the RFQ submissions. The jury includes experts in the fields of visual arts, landscape architecture, architecture, and urban design, as well as LGBT Purge survivors, representatives from key stakeholder groups, and subject-matter specialists.

The Monument will memorialize the profound impact of the discrimination experienced by Canada’s LGBTQ2+ communities and will celebrate their achievements. The Monument site will also have the capacity to host large gatherings and balance public visibility and space for contemplation.

“It is clear that the vision for this Monument as conceived by the LGBT Purge Fund has touched a chord with the Canadian and international arts and design community. I want to thank all the teams that took the time to apply to our Request for Qualifications. We received many excellent submissions, and the jury took great care to select five teams to propose Monument designs that will recognize this shameful period in Canadian history and move us toward a more positive future free from discrimination. We look forward to seeing the designs later this year.”

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

The LGBT Purge refers to the period when LGBT members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Canadian federal public service were systematically discriminated against, harassed, and often fired as a matter of policy and sanctioned practice, due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Over time, survivors and their allies worked hard to secure apologies, gain recognition, win compensation, and change Canadian law. A ground-breaking legal settlement was reached in 2018. Canada was the first country in the world to provide substantial compensation for the harm inflicted on its own people through decades of state-sponsored discrimination.

“The strong interest from the design community shows that they want to be part of creating a powerful, enduring, and compelling Monument to mark the discrimination experienced by the LGBTQ2+ community in Canada. The professional excellence of the five design teams is clear; they also embrace diversity and inclusion in the composition of their teams. We are excited to see the project move forward with design teams that are so committed to this important national project.”

Michelle Douglas, Executive Director, LGBT Purge Fund

The LGBT Purge Fund is a not-for-profit corporation established in 2018 to manage memorialization and reconciliation projects mandated by the settlement. The Fund is responsible for building an LGBTQ2+ National Monument that will “memorialize the historical discrimination against LGBTQ2+ people in Canada, including with respect to the LGBT Purge.” As the project proponent, the LGBT Purge Fund is providing $8 million for the project and is working with Canadian Heritage and the National Capital Commission to ensure the Monument meets the objectives of the settlement agreement and embodies the vision developed with Purge survivors and Canada’s wider LGBTQ2+ community.