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.
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.
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, 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:
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:
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.
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.