The Notre Dame D’Afrique statue that stands outside of the Centre Communautaire Richelieu Vanier was vandalized in October 2022. After inquiring, city staff have informed me that before this vandalism occurred, they had already been considering the need to repaint the entire monument. The monument had not been repainted in over a decade, and it had been significantly impacted by extreme weather. Paint has been peeling and flaking for some time, the colours are faded, and the base requires stabilizing.
After the vandalism occurred, at first, the City considered whether it would be sufficient to repaint just the face and hands that had been vandalized. However, this required finding someone with the skill to repaint facial features and to select the proper color tone. The vandalism occurred in November, so cold weather set in and it was not possible to get the restoration done. Because the surface of the monument is quite friable now and subject to winter damage, the statue was wrapped in plastic sheeting to help preserve it. The plastic was removed in the spring so that the monument could be viewed and evaluated as part of contracting the work to restore it.
Because this is specialized work which combines monument restoration with artistic repainting, Public Works has been challenged to find a qualified contractor. As well, this summer, credible information came forward that the original monument was not painted as it exists today, but rather was not painted at all and simply the color of the concrete. This remains a bit of a mystery, but we have concluded that it has been painted for long enough that the colors should be matched on a refurbishment. Public Works has consulted with the Public Art Unit and more recently with the Heritage staff in the Right of Way office. Staff are actively working to find the right combination of skills and expertise to take on this job.
I take this act of vandalism very seriously and am hurt that someone would paint over this monument, erasing her heritage. I am committed to moving forward to restoring and strengthening the statue so that it can continue to represent the history of Vanier into the future.