Ottawa Canada Debates New Historic Monument

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Even though the National Capital Commission says it won't be using taxpayers' money to build a monument at LeBreton Flats, many Ottawa residents think the suggested $5-million price tag is too high.

The monument is being envisioned as about four storeys high and with a location at the intersection of Booth and Wellington streets. However, it is still unclear what kind of monument is being considered for the site.

Yesterday, the Citizen polled about 20 Ottawa residents (and one U.S. visitor) as they shopped in the LeBreton Flats area, asking who or what they would like to see honoured as a national monument, as well as their reaction to the news. Many expressed interest in a tribute to Ottawa's lumber industry, as recently recommended by area historians. Potential choices would then range from J. R. Booth, favoured by a few and described as "Canada's greatest lumber baron," to lumberjack Jos Montferrand, also known as "Big Joe Mufferaw," who inspired a Stompin' Tom Connors song.

Others suggested memorializing Ottawa's pioneer women, and yet others favoured sports figures and politicians such as former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

But most who were interviewed said their primary concern was the cost of the project, saying the $5-million price tag was simply too expensive.

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