The Thunderhead: Canada Announces LGBTQ+ Monument

The "110-per-cent queer" monument will offer a safe space for reflection and celebration to Canada’s LGBTQ2+ community.

LGBTQ+ News Headline News Brian Webb

This article was published on March 28th, 2022

Ottawa’s LGBTQ2+ community is getting some much-deserved recognition – and now you can see the colourful new monument that will celebrate them.

Canada’s national monument dedicated to LGBTQ2+ people, The Thunderhead, was unveiled in Ottawa last Thursday at an event attended by Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez. The $8-million monument will honour the lives of queer Canadians, and it will also serve as a place for education and support for those who access it.

The monument will be built by 2025, with the winning design from a team of architects, including Winnipeg landscape architects, Public City. It features a silver mirrored mosaic interior influenced by a thunderhead cloud, as well as disco balls and other reflective surfaces. In addition to these features, The Thunderhead will also offer a viewing platform, stage, herb garden, healing circle, and seating areas.

For visual artist Shawna Dempsey, one of the design team members, this “110-per-cent queer” monument was meant to be used by everyone to “educate, memorialize, celebrate and inspire.” And while it will give visitors views of Ottawa and its namesake river, Rodriguez hopes it will also offer a safe space for reflection and celebration—especially for two-spirit Indigenous people who worked closely with the design team.

Institutionalized homophobia

Currently under construction, the monument is intended to honour the LGBTQ community and raise awareness about its history of institutionalized homophobia and transphobia. That way, Canada will never forget what its LGBTQ community has overcome or that it still has work to do to ensure equal rights for all.

“Canada is not immune to intolerance or prejudice,” said Blake Desjarlais, a two-spirit New Democrat MP.

Desjarlais called the monument “a huge achievement for our country.”

The monument will be paid for by the LGBT Purge Fund, which was established following a class-action lawsuit against the Canadian government. The lawsuit was filed by LGBT members of the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP, and federal public service who alleged that they had suffered from systematic discrimination in their workplaces.

Ottawa is a city steeped in the rich history of Canada’s LGBTQ2+ communities, and it is fitting that this monument be placed here. Throughout the decades, the city has been home to many important events related to LGBTQ2+ equality in Canada—such as when the first gay rights demonstration was held in front of Parliament Hill back in 1971.

Bill C-4

Likewise, Ottawa has had a vibrant presence of LGBTQ2+ people and organizations since the late 1960s and early 1970s, with several community organizations establishing themselves within the city over time. This presence is still very much alive today, as demonstrated by the city’s large Pride parade every year.

The announcement of the monument comes at an important time for members of the LGBTQ2+ community in Canada. Recently, the bill banning conversion therapy in Canada received royal assent. Bill C-4 makes it illegal to subject anyone to coercive or forced “treatment” meant to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. As the bill itself states, conversion therapy has been proven to be ineffective and harmful, and it is “an extremely insidious practice that can have lasting repercussions on those affected by it.”

Through this monument, Canada hopes to recognize the deep and lasting contributions of members of the LGBTQ2+ community to the country. The monument will stand as a testament to the contributions and resilience of the LGBTQ2+ community in Canada and will also serve as a physical space for Canadians of all backgrounds to gather and reflect on their rights and freedoms.


Island House Resort Lawsuit: Woman's Unusual Quest to Feel Oppressed Challenges LGBTQ Safe Space

July 5th, 2023

Sean Kivi 0

New Study Shine Light on the Positive Impact of GSA’s and Queer-Affirming Student Organizations

March 2nd, 2023

Rosie Accola 0

Gunman Kills 5 LGBTQ+ Patrons in Colorado Gay Nightclub

November 20th, 2022

Triston Brewer 0

Join the Conversation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *