Homeless in Vancouver: Trudeau’s slab is already a monument of sorts

The news on Friday that a giant slab of granite sits idle in a Gatineau Hills barn while Vancouver’s new condo kitchen counter tops go begging was frankly irksome to me.

The granite was meant for a statue of the late prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. However, the drive to memorialize the politician who repatriated the Canadian Constitution and gave us the Charter of Rights and Freedoms ran out of gas somewhere between now and the year 2000.

After his death that year, a “Trudeau Sculpture Committee” was formed, granted charitable status, and duly commissioned sculptor John Batten. He in turn came up with a design approved by the Trudeau family and land was set aside in the former city of Nepean overlooking the Ottawa River at a spot that, according to the Ottawa Citizen, Justin Trudeau described as perfect.

A 29-tonne slab of Canadian Shield granite was harvested deep in Vermont, then hauled to John Batten’s barn in the Gatineau Hills area outside Ottawa, the capital of Canada in the province of Ontario.

All these many years later that slab is still sitting in the barn. It’s disappointing.

The Canadian solution we can all live with

Didn’t anyone think to just say it was finished? Erect it in Andrew Haydon Park as is. Dedicate it, cut ribbons—however one does these things—cross their fingers and hope for the best?

No? Too bad. It would’ve worked.

A giant flat slab of Canadian Shield granite measuring, in feet, 11 by six by six is pretty darn impressive by it self, and evocative to boot.

It speaks to the bedrock nature of Canadian Confederation and how Canada is a blank slate upon which each generation of Canadians can write a new destiny (cough).

And the slab in its present form is guaranteed to offend far fewer people than anything the sculptor can do with it.

Isn’t that the Canadian way to do things?

It’s already a monument to our ability to get things done. Messing with it now would just be a slab in the face to all Canadians.

Comments (3) Add New Comment
Nancy B
How can granite harvested in Vermont? not Canada a tribute to PE Trudeau? Canadian Shield or not!. The money could CAN be used in so many more appropriate ways. People in Canada are going hungry!!!!!!!! homeless!!!! jobless!!!! PRIORITIES PEOPLE!!!!!
Pierre is in the history books! Justin is in the news... this is more than many people have...
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Nancy B
Furthermore, IF this TRIBUTE was actually supposed/ DESTINED to be!!!! Why 14 yrs later hasn't were been hearing about "its" progress?
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Barking Mad
One wonders how many projects, worthwhile and not, are dropped or never completed simply due to political manipulation by those with bloated egos and way too much power and influence. The rest of us pay for the waste of time, money and resources even if we never know about it.

The apt and very amusing illustration complements the article perfectly. Is it also the work of the writer? I do have a suggestion for a little change to the caption: "Artist's representation of unveiling with dignitaries, Liberal representatives and Harper government officials."
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