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June 14, 2002
The Toronto Inukshuk reaches new heights
  
The Toronto Inukshuk, the City of Toronto's legacy project to commemorate World
Youth Day and the visit of Pope John Paul II in July, began its last stages of
construction today with the placement of the critical granite pieces.

Councillor Joe Pantalone, co-chair of the Toronto Inukshuk project, said, "The
Toronto Inukshuk will be a magnificent addition to Toronto's waterfront and a
timeless reminder of when the world came to Toronto."

An Inuit stone structure, the word Inukshuk means, "that which acts in the
capacity of a human." Found often in the arctic landscape, the Inukshuk serves
as a guide to travellers on land and sea, providing comfort, advice and spatial
orientation.

Located at Battery Park, the Toronto Inukshuk is one of the largest of its kind
ever built 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 from Dryden, Ontario, is being used to create the Inukshuk. Kellypalik
Qimirpik, the internationally acclaimed Inuit artist consulting on the project,
selected the mountain rose stone as it is a similar colour to a type of stone
found in his home of Cape Dorset.

The estimated cost for the project, including design, engineering, site
preparation, materials and construction, is $200,000. City Council approved
$50,000 for the City's share of the project. Fundraising efforts led by
Councillor Pantalone and Tony Dionisio, Project Co-chair and Business Manager,
Universal Workers Union, Local 183, were successful in reaching the financial
goals set for this legacy project.

"Individuals and organizations responded with an unexpected level of generosity
and community spirit. This spirit will be forever captured in stone," said
Dionisio. "The workers and employers of Toronto's building industry have come
together to lend their support to this initiative. 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 selected the Inukshuk design because for centuries, the
Inukshuk structure has acted as a guardian to keep vigil over the land and
remains a powerful symbol of safe harbour in an uncertain world. Enacted in
1984 by Pope John Paul II, World Youth Days reflect the same values of peace
and friendship.

"Congratulations to the City of Toronto for taking the leadership to build this
monument as a cultural symbol of Toronto, Canada and its original inhabitants,"
said Councillor Pantalone. "The Toronto Inukshuk will become a significant
landmark, reinforcing our history as a place where people gather from around
the world."


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