The monument design was selected through a juried competition
carried out in May of 2000
by the Veterans and Friends of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion, a charitable
organization under the guidance of veteran and architect,
Unveiled by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne
Clarkson, C.C, C.M.M., C.D, Governor General of Canada and his Excellency
John Raulston Saul on October 20th, 2001. Her speech is included in Texts.
The monument is located on Green island, a small island
created by the Rideau River where it spills into the St Laurence. The island
is accessed from Rideau Drive.
Artist and Architect
Oryst Sawchuk, Sudbury architect and artist.
This monument was made possible by the
generous donations of the Canadian people through the Association of
Veterans and Friends of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion.
VIVAN LAS BRIGADISTAS!
Los Voluntarios del los cincuenta y tres paises entre los
cuales 1546 canadienses, que se unieron para luchar por la democracia
en contra de los fascistas en la republica Española
The monument contains a 5 metre high sheet of corten
steel out of which has been cut a silhouetted figure of a young man or
Prometheus raising his clenched fist toward a cut-out Spanish sun. The
figure is mounted on a concrete pedestal bearing a memorial plaque which
'The Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion (The Mac-Paps), Canadian Volunteers
of the International Brigades, Spain, 1936-1939
Canadians, 1,546 in number, left families, jobs and country to
help the Spanish people defend democracy against the rise of fascism
in the 1930’s.
As part of the legendary International Brigades, a world-wide
volunteer force from fifty-three countries, the Canadians were organized
into the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion. It was named after the leaders
of the 1837 rebellions against injustice in Upper and Lower Canada. Despite
suffering heavy losses, many of the survivors continued to fight by serving
in the Canadian armed forces in WWII.
In their Promethean struggle for liberty, democracy and social
justice, the Mac-Paps fought courageously for their ideals without thought
of reward or fame.'
Adjacent to the monument is a memorial wall containing 52 stainless
steel panels on which have been inscribed the names of the 1,546 Volunteers.
Running in a band along the top of the wall is an excerpt from the
speech given by Dolores Ibarruri—La Pasionaria—to the assembled Brigadistas
in Barcelona in 1938 as the International Brigades were disbanded:
" You can go proudly. You are history. You are legend. You
are the heroic example of democracy, solidarity and universality. We
shall not forget you, and when the olive tree of peace puts forth its
leaves again . . . come back! And all of you will find the love and gratitude
of the whole Spanish people who, now and in the future, will cry out with
all their hearts: ”Long live the heroes of the International Brigades!"
The artist’s conception is highly symbolic. Prometheus is the
Greek god that brought fire to mankind for its warmth and light in
defiance of the other gods and who subsequently suffered for this humanitarian
act. The use of corten steel, shaped like the jagged Pyrenees and with
cut-out figures will take on a permanent red patina symbolizing the blood
that was spilled in the conflict and the red soil of Spain. Sunlight
or lamppost light shines through the cut-out figure and attracts attention.
The use of laurel bushes and olive trees in the landscaping of the site,
plus other plants in common, continues the connection with Spain, where
nearly half of the volunteers are buried, as well as providing a sheltered
spot with two rock benches for contemplation and remembrance.
.In 1994, the government of Ontario, in conjunction with the
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of the Federal Ministry of Heritage,
agreed to permit the Association of Friends and Veterans of the Mackenzie
Papineau Battalion to have a monument commemorating the deeds of the Mackenzie-Papineau
Battalion (defacto recognition only).
There is a plaque honouring the Mac-Paps at the City Hall of Winnipeg,
An Alberta comittee has been formed to create a monument in that province.
On June 4, 1995, the monument was unveiled in a ceremony at Queen’s
Park, Toronto, the seat of the Ontario provincial government. The photo
is of Bill Kardash, a Mac Pap veteran , speaking at the unveiling.
The munment is located in Queen's Park just to the West of the
Artist and Architect:
The monument, a large boulder brought from the battlefield
of Gandesa, Spain, to which has been attached a memorial plaque
Victoria British Columbia
In 1997, the British Columbia government allowed the B.C.
Mac-Pap Monument Committee to erect a monument in honour of the B.C. volunteers
and the Mac-Pap Battalion. On December 4,1998, a plaque for the B.C.volunteers
was hung in the parliament buildings at Victoria and a second Mac-Pap
plaque was unveiled outside on the grounds. The statue was unveiled Feb.
There is a plaque honouring the Mac-Paps at the City Hall of
An Alberta comittee has been formed to create a monument
in that province.