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Monument to Canada’s Building Trades Unveiled at Major’s Hill Park

May 18, 2017

Canadian Building Trades Monument, Major's Hill Park, Ottawa

Politicians, representatives from many trades unions, and media gathered on a site overlooking Major’s Hill Park for the unveiling of the Canadian Building Trades Unions Monument. At about 5:30 in the afternoon on May 16, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “cut the ribbon” to reveal the new structure.

Designed by acclaimed sculptor John Greer, the monument features two plumb bobs, and individual stone blocks with icons symbolizing iconic tools from individual trades.

Nearby, a monument to trades killed on jobsites stands as a sobering reminder of the dangers trades face.

Canadian Building Trades Monument Information Plaque

Roses laid by family members and officials in honour of workers killed at work sites recently. A moment of silence was observed by all in attendance, and a bagpipe lament followed. The piper was John York with the RCMP Pipes and Drums, and also a 36-year powerline technician with Ontario Hydro.

The result of almost 10 years of planning and construction, the CBTU monument commemorates the hard work and tragic sacrifices made by Canadian trades in the construction of our roads, bridges, and buildings.

You can learn more about the monument and see more photos and videos of the construction at the CBTU Monument website and watch a video about the genesis of the project on this page.

The Ceremony

You can see a video of the ceremony on the CBTU Facebook videos page (the ceremony was delayed and starts at about the 25 minute mark).

Members of trade unions from as far away as Calgary and New York watched the live feed of the unveiling.

Marion Brown Singer of Standing TogetherThe Performance of ‘Standing Together’

Marion Brown, employed with IBEW Local 804 in Kitchener and a member of Teamsters Union Local 879, won the CBTU’s song contest and earned the right to perform onstage.

“Standing Together” featured Marion’s lyrics and featured music by her husband, Robert Wayne Brown. They were joined onstage by Ottawa musicians Mike Essoudry (drums) and Chris Breitner (bass).

You can learn more about Marion’s story here, including how unions defended her family when her father contracted cancer from working with asbestos-laden plaster.

You can listen to the studio recording of “Standing Together” below:

The Unveiling

As part of the unveiling, there were multiple “ribbon cuttings” of materials representing several key trades. To open the monument site, the Prime Minister and representatives of local trades broke brick, and cut lumber, pipe, cable, and glass.

For the electricians, our Prime Minister cut a copper wire held by members of Local 586:

IBEW 586 members with Prime Minister Trudeau at CBTU Monument Unveiling

IBEW 586’s Sam Lapierre and apprentice Amanda Kelly hold the cable for Prime Minister Trudeau to cut.

Local 586 Member Sam Lapierre held the left hand side of the cable, while 586 apprentice Amanda Kelly held the right.

Sam said, “Standing next to our Prime Minister and this incredible monument was a once in a lifetime experience. As a skilled trade worker and a Canadian, it fills me with honour and pride to be part of this historic unveiling.”

The final unveiling was accomplished by lifting the cloth covering with a crane – very appropriate for a building trades monument!

Official photographs followed, with many attendees choosing to place additional roses on the memorial plaque.

PM Justin Trudeau with IBEW representatives at CBTU Monument Unveiling

Left to right: Tom Reid (Executive Assistant to Bill Daniels), IBEW International Vice President Bill Daniels, Justin Trudeau, IBEW International President Lonnie Stevenson, Sr. Executive Assistant Brian Baker, and IEC member Ross Galbraith.

IBEW Local 586’s John Bourke with IBEW International Vice President Bill Daniels and International President Lonnie Stevenson.

IBEW Local 586’s John Bourke with IBEW International Vice President Bill Daniels and International President Lonnie Stevenson.

Special thanks to IBEW 586 member Brett MacLean and IBEW CCO Exec. Chairman of Membership Development James Barry for sharing their great photos from the ceremony.

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