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Architect Barry Padolsky’s letter to PM Stephen Harper on the Victims of Communism Memorial

March 19th, 2015

My friend Barry Padolsky, one of Canada’s most prominent architects,  has just written a powerful letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressing the folly of building a Victims of Communism Memorial on Wellington Street in Ottawa. Barry’s letter deserves a read – and more importantly, as wide a circulation as possible to have an effect on the future of this project.


Prime Minister Stephen Harper,

Dear Sir,

For your information, I am forwarding today’s media coverage on the proposed Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Ottawa. Over the last 6 months, since the 6 finalists in the design competition presented their plans to the public in August 2014, there has been a growing chorus of voices publicly questioning your choice of site for this memorial.

These voices ranged from  Supreme Court Justice Beverley McLaughlin, to Ottawa’s Mayor Jim Watson  to  Rick Mercer in his Tuesday March 17,2015 Rick Mercer Report “Rant”. (Rick: No offense intended for listing you last. The order was chronological.)

From The Globe and Mail:
Tory-linked charity behind monument declared it was not active politically
From The Globe and Mail:
A walk down Wellington Street: Exploring Ottawa’s contentious communism memorial

From the Ottawa Citizen:

Mr Prime Minister, I hope that you will now recognize that your decision to locate this memorial in  Ottawa’s Judicial Precinct next to the Supreme Court was a political error that will diminish the the character of Canada’s Capital and diminish respect for our Parliamentary and Judicial institutions.

I really wish that you would have studied and given regard to the  noble urban design plans for the Parliamentary and Judicial Precincts prepared by Public Works Government Services Canada before taking your decision.

The Government’s Long Term Vision and Plan (LTVP) for the Parliamentary and Judicial Precincts is carefully  detailed in a PWGSC document  entitled :

Parliamentary and Judicial Precinct Area: Site Capacity and Long Term Development Plan (2006 Update) 

As you know, this document was prepared with input from  representatives of the NCC, House of Commons, Library of Parliament , Supreme Court, Courts Administration Service, Federal Court , Library and Archives Canada, and  HCD (FHBRO). See page 121 of the report for details of these representatives.

The Government’s Long Term Vision and Plan for the Parliamentary and Judicial Precincts reserves the subject site for a future building, such as a Federal Court Building,  to complete the “Judicial Triad”, not a landscaped memorial.

There is also an implementation framework report specifically  for the Parliamentary Precinct area:

Building a Solid Foundation: A new Approach to implementing the Long Term Vision and Plan (2007) 

I am providing the dropbox link to these two documents below.


I also recommend that you read the NCC’s thoughtful, thorough , and visionary document:

Canada’s Capital Commemoration Strategic Plan, 2006 

The Canada’s Capital Commemorative Strategic Plan outlines a wide variety of appropriate sites for public commemorations in the Capital . The subject site is pointedly excluded from the NCC’s inventory of  locations suitable for commemorations. I am attaching this document below:

Alternative sites for the proposed memorial , (such as the Garden of the Provinces on Wellington Street,  if your heart is really set on a prominent location)  should now be seriously considered.

Respectfully submitted,

Barry Padolsky B.Arch.,M.Sc.Urban Design OAA, FRAIC, RCA, CAHP

Barry Padolsky Associates Inc., Architects

377 Dalhousie St.

Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 9N8



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