Union Station lies at the very heart of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), but many residents may not realize that this well known statue, outside the station on Front Street, is called Monument to Multiculturalism.
The station is the busiest transportation facility in Canada, serving over 250,000 passengers a day. Most of those passengers are from the GTA – Halton, Peel, York and Durham regions as well as Toronto itself.
The GTA covers an area of over 7,000 km2 and has a population of over 6 million people.1 Approximately half of those people were not born in Canada, and approximately half of them (not the same half) are not of European heritage.
Monument to Multiculturalism was designed and produced by Italian sculptor, Francesco Perilli, and donated by the Italian community in 1985 to celebrate Toronto’s sesquicentennial.
Toronto/the GTA is considered to be one of the most multicultural communities in the world. It is this diversity that Perilli’s statue celebrates. A plaque at the foot of the statue tells the story of Canadian multiculturalism by citing Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s (our current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau’s father) Official Statement on Multiculturalism, given in the House of Commons in 1971: