“Thunderhead” wins LGBTQ2+ National Monument design competition!

The LGBT Purge Fund is thrilled to announce that “Thunderhead” has been selected as the winning proposal for the LGBTQ2+ National Monument. The design was conceived by the Winnipeg-based team led by Liz Wreford, Peter Sampson and Taylor LaRocque of Public City, with artists Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, and Albert McLeod, Indigenous and Two-Spirited People subject-matter expert and advisor.

The design draws on the symbolism of a thunderhead cloud, which embodies the strength, activism and hope of LGBTQ2+ communities. It will be a lasting testimony to the courage and humanity of those who were harmed by the LGBT Purge, homophobic and transphobic laws and norms, and Canada’s colonial history.

Elements of the design include a sculpture that creates the imprint of a thunderhead cloud in mirrored tile, a pathway through a landscaped park that traces the history of LGBTQ2+ people in Canada and a healing circle ringed with stones hand-picked by Two-Spirit Elders.

The LGBT Purge Fund believes in this powerful and creative design and knows this concept will create an extraordinarily special place for the LGBTQ2+ community and all those who visit it. We are honoured and thrilled to work with the team and support their work as they develop this monument.

This feeling is mutual. In the official Canadian Heritage press release, team lead Liz Wreford writes:

“We are both proud and honoured to be chosen to create this monument to the resiliency of the LGBTQ2+ community. We look forward to continuing to work with our amazing team and community stakeholders in the design of the disco-ball thunderhead. This monument will be a symbol of celebration and a space for reflection, healing, activism and performance for generations to come.”

—Liz Wreford, Principal Landscape Architect at Public City

You can read the press release in its entirety here.

The winning design was selected by a jury that evaluated five striking finalist designs — each which responded to the Monument’s Vision in their own unique way. As part of their deliberations, the jury considered the results of an online survey open to the LGBTQ2+ community and the public, as well as feedback received from the Monument’s Indigenous Circle participants and the Monument Advisory Committee, which includes LGBT Purge survivors and other LGBTQ2+ community members.

We would like to thank all of the finalist teams for their thoughtful proposals, passion, and creativity.

And to the jury members, rightsholders, Monument Advisory Committee members, Indigenous Circle, visioning process participants, survey respondents, friends of the LGBT Purge Fund and others, sincere thanks to you all for your vital contributions to this historic process.

Join us for the Announcement of the Winning Team on March 24!

The official announcement of the winning team for the LGBTQ2+ National Monument will take place online on March 24 at 10:00 a.m. EST.

Register to join us.

This special event will include presentations by members of the winning design team, LGBT Purge Fund and representatives of the Government of Canada.

The invitation is open to all and we particularly encourage attendance from the community who has contributed to the creation of the LGBTQ2+ National Monument — a diverse group that includes: survivors; rights holders; Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ First Nations, Inuit and Métis people; activists; historians; design professionals; legal experts; allies; and so many more.

The Monument became possible in 2018, when the historic LGBT Purge settlement was won against the Canadian Government and funds were dedicated to the project in the memory of Purge victims who didn’t live to see compensation. In 2019, hundreds of people contributed to a comprehensive Vision for the Monument. In 2020, that Vision guided design teams as they dreamed up what a monument to both the LGBT Purge and to wider discrimination against LGBTQ2+ people in Canada might look and feel like. Thousands of people shared their thoughts on the five finalist proposals in 2021 — feedback that was instrumental in guiding the Monument jury’s decision. And now we arrive at another milestone.

Thank you for joining us on this historic journey.