Paul Whelan has written about Ireland Park in the new issue of On Site. It commemorates the huge wave of emigrants from the 1847 Irish famine. Incredibly, over a six-month period, 37,000 immigrants washed through Toronto, population 20,000, on their way to both inland and to the United States.
Walls with names seems to be a necessary memorial component now: these names of people who died on the voyage or shortly after, about 20% of the total, are inscribed in the interstices of a rough difficult craggy cliff.
And, also necessary it seems, are the figurative statues, in Toronto's Ireland Park part of a set, the other half being in a park in Dublin: the wraiths who left, and if they didn't die, arrived in North America.
Migration stories: is there a point at which oral history – the journeys, the reason for emigration in the first place, the subsequent struggle to re-establish a life –is lost? And is that when we start to build memorials?