It’s frustrating to watch when a perfectly decent impulse slips the bounds of good judgement and becomes an all out arms race to outdo what’s already been done. This seems to be happening with respect to public memorials. Here’s the latest proposed monstrosity to come along, a gargantuan statue of “Mother Canada” (!?) to honour the war dead.
I’m not in any way concerned that these somehow “glorify war”, but Canada isn’t lacking for war memorials. Go to almost any reasonably sized town in this country and you’ll find a cenotaph or plaque of some kind commemorating those who died. Usually several. According to database on the Canadian Forces website, there are 6696 such memorials across the country, including two in Ingonish.
Even beyond the thirty metre high statue itself, the scale of the proposal seems to tread all over the line circumscribing good taste:
The statue is just the start: Mr. Trigiani is planning to place a “We See Thee Rise Observation Deck” in front of the Mother Canada statue, and behind it “The Commemorative Ring of True Patriot Love,” a low wall featuring metal plaques naming the international cemeteries where Canadian soldiers are buried. He’s also planning a “With Glowing Hearts National Sanctuary,” as well as a restaurant, souvenir shop and interpretive centre.
We should be grateful there aren’t more phrases in the English version of the national anthem.
Naturally, the strange, cultic belief that simply building a monument will attract tourism and create jobs makes an appearance. From the Globe & Mail:
For others, the memorial is seen as a gift that will bring much-needed jobs and tourism to a rural community in decline.
“It’s great. It’s perfect. We need it. Maybe we can get the frigging highway fixed,” says Glenn Warren, the bartender at the local Legion hall who has lived in Ingonish all his life.
Ask the curators of the Shania Twain
Centre Open-Pit Mine how that’s working out.