VANCOUVER — A tiny Vancouver park is at the centre of a monument war, pitting backers of a proposed monument to Irish Canadians against activists who feel its dominant “phallic” nature would violate the integrity of an existing Montreal Massacre memorial.
Vancouver’s Thornton Park is a three-and-a-half acre green space poised at a strategic city juncture. Opposite the old CNR station that welcomed generations of newly arrived immigrants to neighbouring Strathcona, it marks the unofficial beginning of the city’s Downtown Eastside. To the northeast, lies Canada’s poorest postal code; to the southwest, a slew of new condo developments.
Since 1997, the park has been home of the Marker of Change, a monument to the 14 women murdered at Montreal’s École Polytechnique in 1989, which has become a touchstone for related causes like the murdered and missing women in the Downtown Eastside.
But a Vancouver Park Board decision to allow a…
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