For the last year I have been keeping a close eye on the National Holocaust Monument and the weekly progress made by the UCC Group team. The monument is strategically located on the edge of downtown Ottawa, Ontario between the Canadian War Museum and Parliament Hill. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remarked that “…the monument will promote a better understanding of the historical events surrounding the Holocaust and how they affected Canada, and celebrate the tremendous contributions that Holocaust survivors have made to this country.”
Do not be fooled by the simple exterior. The monument incorporates a flame and an iconic stairway that leads to a view of the Peace Tower. This is one of the most complex designs I have ever seen. Six triangular segments make a star design that will support over 1000 visitors for gatherings and ceremonies. The massive facias will display images by one of Canada’s most respected photographers, Edward Burtynsky.
The monument will share a story of survival and hope for the 100,000 remaining Holocaust survivors and their families. Approximately 40,000 survivors made their way to Canada in 1945 when the Second World War ended. Today, the youngest survivors are in their early 70’s.
I firmly believe that the design team, which in addition to Edward Burtynsky includes Daniel Libeskind, Doris L. Bergen, Claude Cormier and leader Gail Dexter Lord, will receive many awards and international recognition. The bar has been set and the National Holocaust Monument will become the measuring stick for all other architectural memorials throughout the world.