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Ottawa (de)tours: Unsettling Elgin Street: Monuments, Memory and National Narratives

During his tenure as Prime Minister, MacKenzie King imagined Ottawa’s Elgin Street as the Canadian Champs Elysées. He insisted on placing the National War Memorial at Elgin Street’s northern apex, to create a sort of Canadian Arc de Triomphe. Since the unveiling of the National War Memorial in 1939, Elgin ...
Ottawa, ON, Canada

Citizen Activators

Name:
Susan Johnson

ABOUT THE URBAN INTERVENTION

From 4 p.m. — 5:30 p.m. on June 3rd, 2017

During his tenure as Prime Minister, MacKenzie King imagined Ottawa’s Elgin Street as the Canadian Champs Elysées. He insisted on placing the National War Memorial at Elgin Street’s northern apex, to create a sort of Canadian Arc de Triomphe. Since the unveiling of the National War Memorial in 1939, Elgin Street has become a street where visitors can peripatetically perform dominant narratives of the nation; however, the street and its monuments also allow for the undoing of these same narratives. In this walk and talk, beginning at the National War Memorial we will explore how monuments along Elgin Street allow for the generation of multiple sets of memories, nostalgia, and challenges to nationalist narratives. We will visit various monuments along Elgin Street including the Oscar Peterson statue, the monuments in Confederation Park, the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights, and Enclave: The Women’s Monument.

Tour guide: Tonya Davidson (@davidson_tonya)
Meeting Place: National War Memorial
Total distance covered: 2.5km
Accessibility: alternative route available to accommodate wheelchair accessibility, please ask.

About your tour guide:
Tonya Davidson is a sociologist who has spent many years studying the social lives of Ottawa’s statues. She has published in the academic journals: Space and Culture, Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, the Public Historian, and the Journal of Canadian Studies. Tonya has also written for various
magazines including Briarpatch, Herizons, THIS, and Canadian Dimension. She teaches sociology at Carleton University.

These materials will be part of my intervention:

It would be great if participants can bring with them:

Comfortable walking shoes, water bottles

Type intervention
Keywords monuments, memory, walking tour, national narratives