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seminar title Unsettling Elgin Street: Monuments, Memory and National Narratives

During his tenure as Prime Minister, MacKenzie King imagined Ottawa’s Elgin Street as the
Canadian Champs Elysées. He insisted on placing the National War Memorial at Elgin Street’s
northern apex, to create a sort of Canadian Arc de Triomphe. Since the unveiling of the National
War Memorial in 1939, Elgin Street has become a street where visitors can peripatetically
perform dominant narratives of the nation; however, the street and its monuments also allow
for the undoing of these same narratives. In this walk and talk, beginning at the National War
Memorial we will explore how monuments along Elgin Street allow for the generation of
multiple sets of memories, nostalgia, and challenges to nationalist narratives. We will visit
various monuments along Elgin Street including the Oscar Peterson statue, the monuments in
Confederation Park, the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights, and Enclave: The Women’s
TKDfaceAbout your tour guide: Tonya Davidson is a sociologist who has
spent many years studying the social lives of Ottawa’s statues. She
has published in the academic journals: Space and Culture, Topia:
Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, the Public Historian, and
the Journal of Canadian Studies. Tonya has also written for various
magazines including Briarpatch, Herizons, THIS, and Canadian
Dimension. She teaches sociology at Carleton University.
Further details:
Meeting place: National War Memorial (benches on the West side of the monument)
Ending place: Minto Park (off Elgin Street)
Duration: 2 hours
Total distance covered: approx 2.5km
Ease of terrain: flat terrain, some stairs
Accessibility: alternative route available to accommodate wheelchair accessibility, please ask
On-demand: Tonya may also be able to offer this tour on demand to groups of 3+ (at flexible times).
Please get in touch with us at info@ottawadetours.ca for more information about this option. 
  • walking seminar guide - Unsettling Elgin Street: Monuments, Memory and National Narratives
  • availability - Runs Saturdays (2:00pm start), Thursdays (10:30am start) and Mondays (7:00pm start)
  • meeting place - National War Memorial (Elgin Street)
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