Mother Language Day monument to be erected in Scarborough

Mother Language Day, promoted in Canada as a celebration of cultural diversity, is slated to have a monument designed in its honour for 2013.

The motion to erect the monument in Confederation Park was approved by members of Scarborough’s community council last month and efforts to raise money for the structure are currently underway.

Members of the Toronto Bangladeshi Parents Advisory Council (BPAC) initiated the idea in 2003 as part of a campaign to pay homage to the Bangladeshi community.

According to Inside Toronto, the committee hopes to raise $150,000 for the almost four-metre tall structure.

The design of the monument has already been approved and lists as many as 325 languages.

Jessica Durresi, staff member at the Scarborough Historical Museum, feels Scarborough is a fitting home for the structure.

“It’s really interesting to see how [Scarborough has] changed,” said Durresi. “As part of the Scarborough Historical Museum we always like to tell people that Scarborough served as a Scottish centre, as opposed to downtown where it was more so English, and then the languages have changed over the years.”

Not many people know about the monument yet, but the idea is well received by those who are aware of its planned construction.

“I think it’s a great thing,” said Matthew Doroz, a long-time Scarborough resident who lives near Midland and Danforth Avenue. “Scarborough is a place that is very multicultural. It can only make for a better society and a better place to live as far as I’m concerned.”

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated International Mother Language Day during a general conference in November 1999. The date commemorates the efforts of Bengali students who were killed by police during a demonstration to recognize their language, Bangla, as a national language in Pakistan.

The monument is expected to be unveiled next year during Mother Language Day on Feb. 21.