OTTAWA—The winning design for a memorial to the victims of communism was unveiled on Parliament Hill Thursday, Dec. 11. The memorial will commemorate the 100 million people who have perished or suffered under communism.
ABSTRAKT Studio Architecture of Toronto won over a jury of experts with their design of the future National Memorial to Victims of Communism.
Employment and Social Development Minister Jason Kenney, who has been a vocal supporter of the memorial, was on hand for the design unveil inside Parliament’s Centre Block.
Kenney said he meets people almost every day who have been impacted by communism.
“Just a week ago I was in Vancouver and met some of the most recent Vietnamese refugees who arrived in Canada after having been stranded in South East Asia as boat people for the past 25 years,” he said.
“I was moved to tears when their spokesperson stood up and said to me, ‘Thank you to Canada, and thanks to Canada we are finally free at last.”
Kenney said the memorial and the group behind it represent people who have overcome unthinkable adversity to come to Canada and live in freedom, safety, and security.
“This is who we are as Canadians. We do not forget the crimes of the past, but we look forward with hope,” he said.
Ludwik Klimkowski, who chairs the board of Tribute to Liberty, the charity behind the creation of the memorial, said he hopes the memorial will help Canadians remember the lessons of the past 100 years and those who perished under communist regimes. He warned that with each new generation, people will forget that history.
“They will actually fall further in love with ease and convenience and they will not understand that the rights and the advantages, the peace and the security were won by people who were willing to live and die for what is good and what is right. And they will not appreciate how precious and rare our way of life in Canada is today.”
That is why the wall of remembrance is so important, he said.
The memorial, which will be built beside the Supreme Court, aims to “create awareness of the horrors of communism and pay tribute to the more than 100 million people worldwide who perished under communist tyranny.”
It will cost around $5.5 million with the government contributing $3 million, said Heritage Minister Shelly Glover. Tribute to Liberty will make up the rest through an ongoing fundraising campaign that has already raised $1.7 million, Glover said.