Most people in Canada know what the Stanley Cup is and maybe even a bit of its history. But now a citizens’ committee is saying that’s not enough – they want to build a monument for the cup downtown.
The group is considering two central locations. The first is along the ceremonial National Capital Commission route that includes Sussex Drive, Wellington Street and the top of Elgin Street.
The second is the Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park, where early Stanley Cup games were played.
The committee, with help from the city, will hold a site selection competition soon for public and private groups to come forward and present possible locations.
Paul Kitchen, a hockey historian and chair of the committee, says downtown Ottawa would be the best spot for the monument.
Canada’s sixth governor general, Lord Stanley, first announced he would donate a hockey trophy to Canadians in 1892 where Elgin and Wellington intersect.
“This is the national symbol of sport in Canada really and it would be appropriate that we honour its birthplace,” says Coun. Peter Hume.
Ottawa city council recently approved his motion to support the Stanley Cup Commemoration Committee.
“We’re used to in Ottawa having monuments for politicians,” Hume says. “I think it’s a fitting accompaniment to all the other national government symbols that we have.”
The committee has estimated that the monument will cost over $5 million, and they say it will rely on both individual donations from a national campaign and corporate sponsorship.
They also hope that the NHL will help out.
Kitchen says the memorial would feature a statue representing Lord Stanley.
“We want the statue to be massive and awe-inspiring – you’d take pride in our sporting heritage by gazing at it,” he says.
When the site is chosen, another competition for sculptors and architects will be held to select the design. There are talks that the memorial could include commercial spaces like an NHL merchandise store, restaurants, and even a museum or interactive centre for children.
But Kitchen says he wants to be careful not to “clutter” the statue so that people have enough room to stand back and look at it.
“We want to preserve the elegance and majesty of the trophy itself.”
He hopes to complete the project by July 2012.
Hume says the committee is not asking for any public funding and the city is simply acting as a resource.
Kitchen says at most, if the site chosen is on municipal land, the committee might ask for the city to look after maintenance.
“I don’t think it should be necessary for taxpayers to deal with this,” says Hume.
“The Stanley Cup is a pretty powerful icon in Canadian sporting culture, so I’m pretty confident that their fundraising and philanthropic efforts will be more than enough to cover the cost of erecting a monument.”
Somerset Ward Coun. Diane Holmes also supported the motion for the monument.
“Ottawa has been a really strong hockey city for over 100 years,” and she says it’s time to show residents that history.
The Stanley Cup is the oldest professional trophy in North America and one of the oldest in the world.