The re-installation of the Samuel de Champlain statue as part of Orillia, Ont.’s Couchiching Beach Park monument has been postponed, Parks Canada announced Thursday.
The re-installation’s deferment will allow for progress of the implementation of the recommendations that were put forward by the monument’s working group, which formed in 2018.
“After further consideration and discussions with concerned parties, it has been determined that it would be appropriate and respectful to approach the implementation of these recommendations in a holistic manner,” Parks Canada said in a press release.
“The re-installation plan is being deferred following more consultation and decision-making regarding the future interpretation and representation of the First Nations story, with the goal of honouring the past within the context of contemporary knowledge and wisdom.”
In July 2019, the monument’s working group, comprised of representatives from First Nations, Parks Canada, Ontario’s elementary teachers’ union and Orillia, released a report of recommendations regarding the monument.
The four recommendations set out by the working group last year called for the central figure of Samuel de Champlain to be re-installed immediately, however, for the First Nations, missionary and fur trader statues, which were a part of the original monument, to be subject to further consultation with First Nations.
The recommendations also called for the text on the monument’s plaque to be updated so that it will “honour the original intent within the context of contemporary knowledge and wisdom” and that additional pieces or signs be implemented to tell a historically accurate story of Samuel de Champlain and his relationship to First Nations.
Parks Canada says Phase 2 of the consultation process for the Samuel de Champlain monument will be reconvened in the coming weeks.
Minor cleaning will also take place at the site in the coming days to remove paint from the stairs.