Montreal’s toppled John A. Macdonald statue won’t be put back on its pedestal in Place du Canada, the city’s executive committee decided on Wednesday.
The statue’s head fell off when protesters hauled it down in 2020 during a demonstration calling for the defunding of the Montreal police and an end to systemic racism. The city says it will now be restored and put on display somewhere else, where it can be accompanied by the proper context explaining its historical significance and controversy.
But the pedestal where the statue stood since its erection in 1895 will stay, as per the recommendations of a committee set up to analyze the statue’s future. The executive committee adopted the recommendations Wednesday morning.
Now, Montreal will commission artists to find a way of modernizing the monument.
“The decision was not made to erase history, but to confront it with the values and preoccupations of the time,” said Ericka Alneus, the executive committee member responsible for culture and heritage.
The committee that presented its recommendations on Wednesday was established after the statue was torn down. It was tasked with deciding what should be done with the monument.
Protesters have targeted monuments to John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, because of his legacy of implementing racist policies toward Indigenous people and his instrumental role in creating Canada’s residential school system.
Before it was torn down in 2020, the downtown Montreal statue had been repeatedly doused in red paint.
More to come.