By Steve Lambert
THE CANADIAN PRESS
WINNIPEG- The last remnant of a statue of Queen Victoria on the front lawn of the Manitoba legislature is being cleared away in the coming days, more than a year after the statue was toppled.
The large pedestal that served as the base of the statue remained intact and will soon undergo maintenance work.
There is still no decision on what may become of the statue and the pedestal, and the provincial government is examining options for a new statue or other structure to put in its place.
The statue was tied with ropes and hauled to the ground on Canada Day last year during a demonstration over the deaths of Indigenous children at residential schools.
The head was removed and found the next day in the nearby Assiniboine River.
While the statue was later taken away, the pedestal has until now remained in place, still covered with red paint in the form of hands.
“The province is working to clear the space in front of the legislative building and is removing the base of the statue,” the government’s communication department said in a written statement Monday.
“No decisions have been made about the space, but in the interim this maintenance work will be done to protect the pedestal until a final decision on its future is made.”
While the statue was toppled in an area covered by many security cameras, no one was ever charged with causing the damage.
Earlier this year, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said the statue had been assessed as beyond repair. He added it would not be replicated as that would cost $500,000 or more.
A smaller statue of Queen Elizabeth II, on a side lawn next to the lieutenant-governor’s house, was also toppled but suffered less damage. That one is being repaired and will be put back in place, Goertzen has said.
In online discussion forums last spring, some people suggested the broken Queen Victoria statue be installed in a museum as-is to commemorate the demonstrations over the deaths of children at residential schools.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 7,