Conversation over replacement statue at Manitoba Legislature continues

The Manitoba government has not yet decided what it will be placing on the grounds of the legislature, after the statue of Queen Victoria was toppled over on Canada Day two years ago. Alex Karpa reports.

By Alex Karpa

On the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature, a statue of Queen Victoria once stood. But two years ago on Canada Day, it was toppled over during a no pride in genocide march.

Today the debate continues as to what should be put in this still vacant space.

A woman is seen standing on the perch where a statue was toppled on Canada Day.

The statue of Queen Victoria was hauled to the ground on July 1st, 2021, during a demonstration over the deaths of Indigenous children at residential schools across Canada. The statue was covered with red paint, and the head was removed.

Now, 215 orange flags occupy that spot, but discussions have been ongoing on what to put there. Katherine Strongwind says this is a good opportunity for the Manitoba government to consult with Indigenous groups on what should occupy the space in front of the legislature.

Orange flags outside Manitoba Legislature. (Photo Credit: Alex Karpa, CityNews)

“We could place a memorial there for IRS, day school, 60s scoop survivors and really honour those of us who have been through those horrific events and then we could also continue with honouring Indigenous leadership that was that were here and help shape the province of Manitoba that we see today,” said Katherine Strongwind, director of 60s Scoop Legacy of Canada.

“I think it’s really important that we get it right.”


There are currently several statues on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature, including Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko and Metis Leader Louis Riel, but no statue of a First Nations person.

However, plans are underway to construct a monument of Chief Peguis and four other Chiefs, who signed the first treaty in Manitoba. The monument is planned for the northwest corner of the grounds, but Indigenous reconciliation advocate Kyle Mason says the province should reconsider this.

“Maybe let’s move it up front and centre, because without Chief Peguis, there would be no province of Manitoba. Times are changing, so it’s time to put up statues that reflect a more diverse, a more realistic history of Manitoba and Canada and a Chief Peguis statue is a good step towards that, and like I said, maybe moving him front and centre would be even better,” said Kyle Mason, Indigenous and reconciliation advocate.

Orange flags outside Manitoba Legislature. (Photo Credit: Alex Karpa, CityNews)

Manitoba Minister James Teitsma, who is in charge of the grounds, told the Canadian Press, no decision has been made, but feels it may be best to leave it open green space.

Dr. Sean Carleton from the University of Manitoba says the empty spot describes Canada’s journey toward reconciliation perfectly – an unfulfilled project.

“Having that empty blimp as sort of a reminder of the empty promises so far, in some ways, that was my preference that it would be left until those treaty promises are fulfilled. That would be an appropriate metaphor of where we are at in the reconciliation journey,” said Dr. Carleton.

Strongwind says the provincial government should form a steering committee with residential school and day school survivors and get their perspective on this decision.

“They (Manitoba government) lean on our First Nations leadership, when really, it’s survivors that they should be speaking to. I really encourage them to take this opportunity and do that.”

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