Despite new signage, advocates continue to call for removal of Queen Victoria statue in Kitchener
Newly stationed plaques in front of the controversial Queen Victoria statue in Kitchener’s Victoria Park are drawing mixed reaction from area residents.
The monument was vandalized twice over the summer and calls have been made to remove the statue due to its connection to Canada’s colonialist past.
A portion of the plaque, put up by the city, reads: “The cultural harm and erasure inflicted on First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples is a direct result of this colonialism. The City of Kitchener acknowledges that the presence of this statue in Victoria Park may contribute to that ongoing harm.”
Land Back Camp co-founder Amy Smoke says the signs were an underwhelming choice of action from the city.
“The wording with the ‘we know it inflicts trauma and causes harm but we’re going to just acknowledge that on a plaque and do nothing about it’, [I felt] surprised which went to sort of disappointment,” Smoke said.
Smoke added that statues like the one in Victoria Park aren’t necessary for people to learn about the country’s history.
“We don’t have statues of Hitler but we all know what happened,” Smoke said. “We do not have to glorify these people on stolen land.”
The plaque also indicates that the city is working toward reconciliation with local Indigenous groups, including making decisions on the future of the Queen Victoria statue. Local resident Fran Hannah is glad to see the city is taking some form of action.
“As a person of colour it makes me feel safe seeing an acknowledgement there,” Hannah said. “I think any acknowledgement is a step in the right direction.”
In a statement to CTV News, the City of Kitchener says in part that they are “…part of a local reconciliation action plan working group. A subcommittee of this group is working collaboratively on a review of public spaces.”
Smoke said they want the statue to be removed immediately and replaced by some kind of mural or indigenous artwork, as a way to educate and share indigenous culture and history.