Champlain’s Tercentenary: A Man of Mythic Appeal

Champlain, often portrayed as Canada's ‘multi-talented founder,’ has been styled in a variety of ways in order to serve a variety of purposes. Discovering how Champlain was being represented in the monument raised to him as part of Ottawa's tercentenary celebration of his second voyage up the Ottawa River will reveal a great deal about attitudes towards Champlain at the turn of the twentieth century and about the nature of collective or popular memory.

In order to discover what their intentions were it may be useful to draw on historians Micheal Ripmeester and Richard Johnston. It is their belief that if "Our goal is to understand popular memory, we must consider the dialogue between entrepreneurs and their audience, the general public." In the case of the 1913 tercentenary commemoration these entrepreneurs would be those responsible for undertaking the efforts to commemorate Champlain. But which Champlain was being commemorated at why was this interpretation chosen? Furthermore, what can this statue tell us about attitudes towards Champlain in the past and commemorative practice more broadly?

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