Parks Canada deferring reinstallation of Samuel de Champlain statue in Orillia to look for more respectful approach

Working group made series of recommendations in a report filed a year ago

Parks Canada says the discussion about whether or not to reinstall Orillia’s Samuel de Champlain statue should continue.

The national agency announced on Thursday it is deferring the reinstallation of the statue at Couchiching Beach Park to allow for additional progress on implementing recommendations made by the Samuel de Champlain Monument Working Group.

The group was formed in 2018 with the mandate to pursue public consultation and make recommendations on the monument moving forward, while remaining respectful and representative to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives. A report was presented in July of 2019 and can be viewed on the City of Orillia website.

Parks Canada says the matter requires further consideration, saying the reinstallation plan is being deferred to allow for an appropriate and respectful approach to implementing these recommendations in a holistic manner. Further consultation and decision-making regarding the future interpretation of the First Nations story is expected.

The statue was first removed in 2015 for repair and renovation.