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Replacement monument to Rideau Canal workers unveiled

April 30, 2018
Leah Hansen and Trevor Pritchard, CBC News

Nearly nine months after a monument to the workers who died building the Rideau Canal was mysteriously destroyed, people gathered on the historic waterway Sunday to see its replacement unveiled.

The Celtic Cross monument had originally been placed near the canal in 2004 as a memorial to those who who died building the canal between 1826 and 1832, said Sean McKenny, president of the Ottawa and District Labour Council.

But in August 2017, the cross was found knocked over, shattered into several pieces.

“It was pretty devastating for us to see the cross [like that],” said McKenny ahead of Sunday’s rededication ceremony.

Likely not vandalism

McKenny said it’s not known how the cross was destroyed, although it didn’t appear to be an act of vandalism.

It’s also unclear whether police ever opened an investigation, he added.

Regardless, when the damaged monument was discovered, McKenny said thoughts turned immediately to erecting a replacement.

After calling the company that had originally cast the cross, he was told it would be a costly fix — the entire monument, all four parts, would have to be remade.

The replacement came in at $80,000, four times what the labour council paid for the original monument — although McKenny said an insurance policy saved them from having to shell out the entire cost.

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