AIDS Memorial - Toronto, ON
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member ras258
N 43° 40.014 W 079° 22.766
17T E 630653 N 4836153
Quick Description: This is the AIDS Memorial in Cawthra Park in Toronto and is well worth a visit.
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date Posted: 11/16/2011 1:43:29 PM
Waymark Code: WMD4A4
Views: 11

Long Description:
The AIDS Memorial, which opened in 1993, in Cawthra Park is both beautiful and sobering at the same time. Michael Lynch came up with the idea of an AIDS Memorial in the mid-1980's and he and others created a temporary memorial each Gay Pride Day until this permanent Memorial was created.

This Memorial was designed by Patrick Fahn. Alex Wilson was responsible for the surrounding landscaping. It is a memorial for everyone touched, in any way, by AIDs, not just the gay community. A ceremony is held each year on Pride Day and the names are read of those who have died during the previous year.

The Memorial is a semi-circle of 14 triangular concrete pillars which have stainless steel plaques attached to them. The names and dates of people who have died from AIDS related diseases are engraved on these plaques. There is a triangular concrete pad, in front of the arc of columns, with plantings on each side and behind it. As you follow the path, next to the pillars, you may feel quite alone and in a private space, depending on when you visit this Memorial, because the trees and plantings of the area provide some shelter and privacy. You will also notice that there are often flowers and notes, left by friends and loved-ones, inserted between the plaques and the concrete columns.

Two poems are engraved on stainless steel plaques, mounted to the first pillar, at the entrance of this Memorial: Cry by Michael Lynch and Circles of Stone by Shoshanna Jey Addley.

Morning through a city garden widens
its swath. Shiny eyes of cinquefoil,
azure eyes of myosotis, bruised lobelia
refuse to blink. Intruders trapped in the cross-
stare harden, crumble into fine
dustings because our sympathies
will not adapt to sun and cinquefoil: our world
steel and concrete, oil and song.
We hoist our lives high over the drone
of traffic and screwing gulls, hoist bags
of soil to terraces at the setbacks; set out
cinquefoil, watch its leavings, count
its days. Some days we doze in the sun
and dream we too are cinquefoil or lobelia,
blowing and blanching without demur.
Then pneumocystis breaks.
We open our eyes to that skyline we incised
and know as a jet cuts through cloud that
cities are our gardens, with their stench
and contagion and rage, our memory, our
sepals that will not endure
these waves of dying friends
without a cry.

Circles of Stone
To Those Unnamed
We stand at this place; among earth and stone, branch and birch –
In darkness and in light, through sun and storm, rain and trees,
leaves and breeze: Life and Death.
Our strength, though withered and sapped, regenerates here.

Each name on each standing stone remarks thousandfold
upon those unmarked from sea to sea; pole to pole.
The earth would quake with the strength of our memories,
flood with the loss of our tears, and in tandem; We exist.

How tall will these stones have to grow?
How wide, how all-encompassing, how awesome?
To announce this radical interruption of humanity.
These standing stones might sprout like high-rises,
watered by lovers left behind.
Further stones planted, the last meets the first; A circle is formed.
Its volume gains inhabitants; Admitting entrance without discrimination.

The world mourns while we embrace the lives and the times.
Whether a name is engraved in steel or in sand, in heart or in mind;
In flesh or in form, we will remember.
And mark the day we have no further need for such
Circles of Stone.

You will find this Memorial in Cawthra Park which is on the east side of Church Street, north of Wellesley Street East.

The 519: (visit link)
Website with more information on either the memorial or the person(s) it is dedicated to: [Web Link]

Location: Cawthra Park, east of Church, north of Wellesley Street East, Toronto

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