Parks Canada has put the restoration work on a statue of Samuel de Champlain in Orillia on hold. 

The Champlain monument was taken down last fall so Parks Canada could improve some structural issues.  It was supposed to be returned to Couchiching Beach Park this summer, but now Parks Canada wants the city to come up with a plan for the statue and the land surrounding it after concerns were raised about the monuments representation of Indigenous people. 

It’s a decision the mayor says didn’t surprise him. 

“The indigenous story that’s being told in the park today with the monument in place is inaccurate and we need to tell an accurate story” says Steve Clarke.

Clark says the city has been in consultations with First Nations leaders for two years and that “getting the story right and accurate in the end is probably the main criteria we should be working within.”

Retired history teacher Mike Shillolo stresses the importance of reflecting today’s efforts on truths and reconciliation.  He would like to see a fair depiction of Champlain’s cultural exchange with indigenous peoples.

Parks Canada would like a plan for the monument and surrounding park lands by summer 2019.