This decade marks the 150th anniversaries of the Civil War and of Confederation. Indeed, the creation of the Dominion of Canada was one of the consequences of the war. Yet there are few Civil War memorials in Canada, the most famous being one in Kincardine, Ontario to Dr. Solomon Secord. The great-nephew of War of 1812 heroine Laura Secord served in the Confederate States Army. But this is to one man. Otherwise, therefore, almost no reminders exist north of the border of the great conflict in which thousands of British North Americans fought and which spawned their own country. The time has come for more action.
I propose that a statue of Abraham Lincoln be constructed in Canada, preferably at a prominent site such as Parliament Hill in Ottawa. As far as I know, only two US presidents have memorials in Canada. In the wake of his tragic death, ones to John F. Kennedy appeared in several places. More recently, and much belatedly, Quebec City has one to Franklin D. Roosevelt in honor of the great Allied conference there in 1943. It appears that there's a certain indifference in Canada to implanting American figures on their landscape, despite nearly two centuries of peace. In fact, in the 1850s, the town of Almonte, Ontario was named for a Mexican general who fought against the United States. Surely one of the great Lincoln would remedy this deficit.
I'd select the style like that of the Lincoln monument at Parliament Square in London. A standing figure, left hand on his lapel, as if he was just about to give one of his famous speeches. On the front "ABRAHAM LINCOLN: President of the United States of America 1861-1865." On the rear: "Friend to Canada." On each side, citations from the Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural. An alternative style would be his sitting pose in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.
I'd like for such a monument should spark debate on the importance of the Civil War in Canada as well remind people of the need to maintain the binational relationship carefully maintained since. For the first half of the 19th Century, cooperation mixed with tension, leading to considerable anti-Union and pro-Confederate sentiment in Canada. From 1867 onwards, peace has prevailed in North America, to the point where the 49th Parallel has been called 'the longest undefended border in the world.' Lincoln had a large part in the creation of this situation, one that should not be forgotten or taken for granted.