If “Mother Canada” is constructed, she will be, at 75 feet tall, less than one third the height of the Lady Liberty. But the war memorial that the Canadian government would see erected on the cliffs of Cape Breton is seen by many locals as an ostentatious eyesore, which is why it won’t be constructed with tax money. Instead, it will be crowdsourced (the crowd will include corporations) by Tony Trigiano, the businessman responsible for the tribute. New Yorkers can tell you how this sort of thing ends.
Though it’s normally thought of as a gift from France or, more specifically, French Republicans, the Statue of Liberty was not free. An American Committee, which a young Teddy Roosevelt sat on, helped crowdsource funds to erect Bartholdi’s statue and Joseph Pulitzer, the famously dickish newspaper magnate, put out a call for donations — no matter how small. Though some criticized the statue for being too “Frenchy,” which is basically American for ostentatious, it was enormously popular among immigrants. The “pagan goddess” was shipped over and built.
Will the same thing happen in Canada? Well, the papers aren’t exactly jumping on the bandwagon, but, yes, that’s almost certainly what will happen. The truth is that you don’t need that much of a crowd to crowdsource something like “Mother Canada,” especially in a country as prosperous as True North. If the New York poor could help erect something so much bigger, the Canadian rich can manage it — so long as they overcome rhetorical opposition. And that shouldn’t be too hard. Lady Liberty was described as “neither an object of Art or of Beauty” before she became an icon and got cast in Ghostbusters II. The petition to stop the construction of “Mother Canada” is not getting the number of signatures that amount to much.
And then there’s the design: It’s super “Frenchy” and that’s a good thing. The romantic and neo-romantic sculpture is enormously popular — especially among people who couldn’t identify it as such. The vaguely classical lines communicate the metaphorical nature of the structure and the gesture towards Europe is delicate and maternal. It’s the exact sort of thing that ages well. Just ask anyone on the Brooklyn Bridge.