Face up to it
A few months back I wrote about the statue of Queen Elizabeth II that would soon be installed at Queen’s Park. The statue has been mired in disputes for several years. Something to do with donors, unpaid bills, and who knows what else.
But that’s not what caught my eye. No, it was the dimensions of the statue. According to a newspaper article, the statue plus the plinth it would sit on was going to be thirty feet high. That’s like three storeys of a condo building. It was supposed to be placed to the left of the main door of the Ontario Legislature and be a pendant to a more petite statue of Queen Victoria (after whom Queen’s Park is named) to the right of the main door.
I wrote a letter to the Honourable Ted Arnott, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, expressing my shock and dismay at this monstrosity about to be unveiled. Just so he’d know I wasn’t against Royal statues per se, I told him that the equestrian statue of King Edward VII, which is also under the purview of the Speaker, was one of my favourite statues in all the world. He did not reply to my missive.
A few day ago, the statue of the Queen was officially unveiled. What a relief. It was “only” two stories tall. That article was wrong. But there’s another problem. The face is supposed to look like the Queen in 1977. Not only does the face not look like the Queen, it has a certain masculinity that gives it a very unfortunate nature. You can view the statue and the face here in a CITY-TV news report to see for yourself. Other institutions fare better. The Royal Canadian Mint’s new coinage with the face of Charles III looks accurately done.
I don’t know what it is about Queen’s Park but they can’t seem to get their statues right. Sir John A. Macdonald has been boarded up on the front lawn for three years following vandalism. I remember talking in 2021 with members of a committee tasked with what to do about Sir John. I believe the matter has since been handed on to another group but nothing has come from them either.
I don’t know about you, but I believe that statues are meant to be erected – and viewed – to remember our best. Recently, all we’re doing is our worst.