Monument Celebrating Amherstburg's Rich Italian Heritage Approved In Principle

A monument in King’s Navy Yard Park that would celebrate Canada's immigration story and Amherstburg's rich Italian heritage has received approval in principle from Council so fundraising for the ambitious $800,000 project can proceed in earnest.

A rendering of a proposed Italian Heritage monument in Amherstburg, showing a father hoisting his son while his wife and daughter look on.

The Italian Heritage Monument Fundraising Committee has commissioned world-renowned artist Armando Barbon as the sculptor for the bronze monument, which would depict a family reuniting in Canada, where the father went to build a new and better life, after many long years apart.

The preliminary vision presented to Council included four bronze figures along with a trunk, two suitcases, two hampers of tomatoes and a large book with an inscription on both pages. The design is still being worked on and may change. The location approved in principle is the southern section of King’s Navy Yard Park. All told, the pieces would weigh an estimated 39,000 pounds and a crane would be required for installation. The monument in Italy.

The monument would bookend a monument in Roccamorice, Italy, in the Abruzzo region, where most of the Amherstburg Italians emigrated from. The installation shows a father with a suitcase looking down and consoling a young child clutching his leg. 

Barbon created a monument with a similar theme called The Emigrant that was erected for the Halifax Port Authority. It shows a man with a suitcase boarding a boat bound for the New World, leaving behind a wife holding a newborn and the hand of a small child waving goodbye.

The Amherstburg monument would depict the reunification.

“The proposal is a cultural project that will produce a significant cultural asset for the residents of Amherstburg,” says a report to Council. “Nestled in the beautifully landscaped King’s Navy Yard Park the monument will be a welcomed piece of art that will provide a story and attraction for visitors in the area.”

The Italian Heritage Monument Committee is responsible for funding the project in its entirety and would work with the Town to develop a maintenance trust fund for future maintenance and repairs. Send an email to the committee to learn more about the project or to make a donation!

Below is a video of the artist talking about The Emigrant monument he built for Halifax and below that is a photo of the installation.

The Emigrant monument in Halifax.