Toronto Inukshuk gets ready to welcome the world |
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The first major event during the World Youth Day week took place today with the
official dedication ceremony of the Toronto Inukshuk by Mayor Mel Lastman, City
officials and sponsors.
"The Toronto Inukshuk welcomes young people from around the world to our great
city for World Youth Day," said Mayor Lastman. "This will be a lasting memory
for Toronto and we're looking forward to a fantastic week of friendship."
The Inukshuk was chosen by City Council as the City of Toronto's legacy project
to commemorate World Youth Day 2002 and the visit of Pope John Paul II to
Toronto. An Inuit stone structure primarily found in the arctic landscape, the
Inukshuk acts as a powerful symbol of safe harbour, guiding travellers on land
Councillor Pantalone, co-chair of the Toronto Inukshuk Project, said, "The
Toronto Inukshuk will be an important meeting place during World Youth Day
events. It will also become a significant landmark for Toronto and reinforce
our image as a meeting place in years to come."
Kellypalik Qimirpik, the internationally acclaimed Inuit artist from Cape
Dorset, Nunavut, is consulting on the project. From the initial sculpture
design to the selection of the granite used to create the Toronto Inukshuk, Mr.
Qimirpik has helped to bring an important symbol of Canada's Native People to
the people of Toronto.
The Toronto Inukshuk will be located at Battery Park and is one of the largest
of its kind in North America. The structure, including the base, stands 30 feet
high with an arm span of 15 feet. Approximately 50 tonnes of mountain rose
granite is used to create the Inukshuk.
Co-chairs Councillor Pantalone and Mr. Tony Dionisio (Universal Workers Union,
local 183) spearheaded the project's fundraising efforts. The cost of the
project, including design, engineering, site preparation, materials and
construction was $200,000. The team was not only successful in reaching the
financial goal of the project, but also was successful in generating a
tremendous level of support and generosity.
"The workers and employers of Toronto's building industry gave willingly to
support this initiative," said Mr. Dionisio. "They understand that a city is
not just its infrastructure. The culture, the people and the very life of the
city is what truly makes Toronto great."
The City of Toronto will be presenting His Holiness Pope John Paul II with a
miniature replica of the Inukshuk on the occasion of his visit to Toronto for
World Youth Day.
|Winnie Li, |
|Economic Development, Culture and Tourism, |
|416-392-8183; 416-791-3488 (cell)|