Douglas Coupland/Plant Architect team wins Canadian Firefighters Memorial Competition

The National Capital Commission (NCC), the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation (CFFF) and the Government of Canada announced the winning concept for the construction of the Canadian Firefighters Memorial which will be erected on LeBreton Flats. The team, comprised of artist Douglas Coupland from Vancouver and Mary Tremain, partner at PLANT Architect Inc. from Toronto, won the Canada-wide competition with their concept “We Were There”.

“I wanted the monument to convey deep emotion and simple dignity,” said artist Douglas Coupland. “I want people to eat their lunch there, read, play with their kids – and each time they do so, a small part of themselves will reflect on firefighters and what they do every day when they go to work.”

The jury, comprised of public art and architecture professionals and representatives from the CFFF and the NCC, emphasized that the winning concept will encourage site interactivity and exploration by visitors. The concept addresses all four seasons with a thoughtful vegetation strategy and landscape forms – colourful and alive – and depicts a sense of renewal over time.

“We are pleased that after seven years we finally know what the memorial will look like. The Coupland/Plant Architect Inc. design is quite dramatic and a fitting memorial for the more than 1000 firefighters who died serving their communities in all corners of Canada since the 1840’s,” said Robert Kirkpatrick, president of the CFFF. “The Foundation is very thankful for the support of the Canadian Government and the National Capital Commission and we can hardly wait to start construction.”

“The NCC is proud to participate in this national commemoration project which honours the sacrifice of men and women in the fire service who have served, and continue to serve in communities across Canada,” said Marie Lemay, Chief Executive Officer of the NCC. “The winning concept will create a magnificent gathering place for visitors and for the families of fallen firefighters.”

In the coming months, the concept will be refined to meet the requirements of various federal laws and regulations and approvals by different committees. Construction will begin in the summer of 2011 and the monument should be unveiled in September 2012.

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