Skip to main content

The Empty Plinth, Regina


The past year will likely be remembered as the year the world seemed to stand still as a virus spread from China across the face of the planet.  We, the residents of Earth, were mandated to stay home, wear masks, and avoid interpersonal contact.  Businesses were permanently closed, millions of jobs were forever lost, and lots of people suffered -- not only from the virus but also from the remedies for it.

I will also remember if as the year of the empty plinth.  People across the planet thought they should erase parts of their history that were inconvenient to them or caused them discomfort.  Statues were dragged down by the dozens across the globe or removed by politicans who fear mobs.

21 Regina (45)

Even in the small fairly conservative city of Regina I found empty plinths.  At first I thought their statues had been removed, although it turns out these were just stands with memorial plaques that had never held a statue.

21 Regina (42)

21 Regina (43)

It is unclear if the statue of Sir John A. MacDonald, Canada's first Prime Minister and one of the founders of Canada, will survive.  It was at risk of removal as you can see in the signage above.  Last I heard Sir John A still held his spot in the Victoria Park, but who knows for how long?  Or if they decide a park named for Queen Victoria needs retitling.

I'm one of those who thinks that history is best remembered for what is was, warts and all, or we will be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.


Images (5)
  • 21 Regina (42)
  • 21 Regina (43)
  • 21 Regina (44)
  • 21 Regina (45) - Copy
  • 21 Regina (45)

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

Add Comment

Comments (3)

Newest · Oldest · Popular

Sadly, many public statues do not show us history for "what is was, warts and all," but rather a distorted image of it.

Let us be clear: removing a statue is not removing history, it is removing a statement about history. When statues of Saddam Hussein were torn down in Iraq, no one thought they were saying he hadn’t happened, but rather that he shouldn’t have been honored. For the same reason, there are no Hitler statues in Germany.

The same could be applied to those in Revolutionary War America who removed statues of King George III. And it is just as true now, when many in America are demanding not that we ignore Robert E. Lee and the other traitors of 1861 but rather that we remember them without honor, as defenders of a cause that thousands of their fellow citizens died to defeat.

Statues and stories are meant to shape the way we think about history; in Lee's case, to create a public memory of his “dignity, honor and goodness,” not that he led an army determined to keep millions in slavery. It is significant, in the U.S., that the vast majority of Confederate statues were created not right after the war, but in the 1890s and early 1900s as a way of enforcing and memorializing the Jim Crow system that was being constructed and enforced then. The slavers got statues; the victims of slavery did not.

So, as the new year begins, let us have more empty plinths, until we can make memorials of those who deserve to be remembered, and until we can take a careful look at all our historical memories, and their warts.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

When I see a sign from our past I always like to dig deeper into its History. Bearing in mind that History of any conflict is always written by the Victors.

If we don't see "Doorways" into our past then we'll look no further.

Man's inhumanity to Man is never far away and needs to be kept in our thoughts.

Maybe a better option would be to add more Statues of Famous folks of Non-White Descent.

Balance the books - Don't burn them.

Last edited by GarryRF
Link copied to your clipboard.