Unveiled by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, C.C, C.M.M., C.D, Governor General of Canada and his Excellency John Raulston Saul on October 20th, 2001. Her speech is included in Texts.
The monument is located on Green island, a small island created by the Rideau River where it spills into the St Laurence. The island is accessed from Rideau Drive.
Artist and Architect
Oryst Sawchuk, Sudbury architect and artist.
This monument was made possible by the generous donations of the Canadian people through the Association of Veterans and Friends of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion.
VIVAN LAS BRIGADISTAS!
Los Voluntarios del los cincuenta y tres paises entre los cuales 1546 canadienses, que se unieron para luchar por la democracia en contra de los fascistas en la republica Española
The monument contains a 5 metre high sheet of corten steel out of which has been cut a silhouetted figure of a young man or Prometheus raising his clenched fist toward a cut-out Spanish sun. The figure is mounted on a concrete pedestal bearing a memorial plaque which reads:
“The Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion (The Mac-Paps), Canadian Volunteers of the International Brigades, Spain, 1936-1939 Canadians, 1,546 in number, left families, jobs and country to help the Spanish people defend democracy against the rise of fascism in the 1930’s. As part of the legendary International Brigades, a world-wide volunteer force from fifty-three countries, the Canadians were organized into the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion. It was named after the leaders of the 1837 rebellions against injustice in Upper and Lower Canada. Despite suffering heavy losses, many of the survivors continued to fight by serving in the Canadian armed forces in WWII. In their Promethean struggle for liberty, democracy and social justice, the Mac-Paps fought courageously for their ideals without thought of reward or fame.”
Adjacent to the monument is a memorial wall containing 52 stainless steel panels on which have been inscribed the names of the 1,546 Volunteers. Running in a band along the top of the wall is an excerpt from the speech given by Dolores Ibarruri—La Pasionaria—to the assembled Brigadistas in Barcelona in 1938 as the International Brigades were disbanded:
” You can go proudly. You are history. You are legend. You are the heroic example of democracy, solidarity and universality. We shall not forget you, and when the olive tree of peace puts forth its leaves again . . . come back! And all of you will find the love and gratitude of the whole Spanish people who, now and in the future, will cry out with all their hearts: ”Long live the heroes of the International Brigades!”
The artist’s conception is highly symbolic. Prometheus is the Greek god that brought fire to mankind for its warmth and light in defiance of the other gods and who subsequently suffered for this humanitarian act. The use of corten steel, shaped like the jagged Pyrenees and with cut-out figures will take on a permanent red patina symbolizing the blood that was spilled in the conflict and the red soil of Spain. Sunlight or lamppost light shines through the cut-out figure and attracts attention. The use of laurel bushes and olive trees in the landscaping of the site, plus other plants in common, continues the connection with Spain, where nearly half of the volunteers are buried, as well as providing a sheltered spot with two rock benches for contemplation and remembrance.
In 1994, the government of Ontario, in conjunction with the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of the Federal Ministry of Heritage, agreed to permit the Association of Friends and Veterans of the Mackenzie Papineau Battalion to have a monument commemorating the deeds of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion (defacto recognition only).
On June 4, 1995, the monument was unveiled in a ceremony at Queen’s Park, Toronto, the seat of the Ontario provincial government. The photo is of Bill Kardash, a Mac Pap veteran , speaking at the unveiling.
The monument is located in Queen’s Park just to the West of the Legislature.
The monument, a large boulder brought from the battlefield of Gandesa, Spain, to which has been attached a memorial plaque.
Victoria, British Columbia
In 1997, the British Columbia government allowed the B.C. Mac-Pap Monument Committee to erect a monument in honour of the B.C. volunteers and the Mac-Pap Battalion. On December 4,1998, a plaque for the B.C.volunteers was hung in the parliament buildings at Victoria and a second Mac-Pap plaque was unveiled outside on the grounds. The statue was unveiled Feb. 12, 2000
There is a plaque honouring the Mac-Paps at the City Hall of Winnipeg, Manitoba.