Skip to content

Bradford resident seeks answers to dismissal of veteran monument build

An online petition was started to support the continuation of the memorial project for Canadian veterans

The Mother Canada monument, officially known as the Never Forgotten National Memorial (NFNM) was a project started in 2012 to commemorate Canadian soldiers who fought in the war and died overseas.

The project included a 20-metre statue of ‘Mother Canada’ with her arms stretched out overlooking the seas off the East coast of Green Cove, Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Based off the Mother Bereft sculpture located at Vimy Memorial in France, the $25 million dollar project was originally approved by former Conservative Government leader Stephen Harper in 2015 and included a tourist drop-in centre and souvenir shop, as well as upgrades and repairs to the current state of the tourist spot.

Bradford resident Lt. Col. Ferguson Mobbs (Ret.) is a local volunteer and sits on the strategy committee of the NFNM. Originally from Toronto, Mobbs and his wife have travelled to various veteran monuments over the years and have visited the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France.

Mobbs' wife (Carmen) who is originally from Cape Breton, was visiting family in the area years ago when she stumbled upon a community meeting at Green Cove where she learned about the Mother Canada project. Having just returned from Vimy Ridge, Mobbs and his wife were in full support of the project and joined the team to help with planning.

The project was founded by Tony Trigiani (President and CEO of NFNM) and was set to be completed by July 1, 2017; however, all plans were derailed after community members banded together and economic rights activists launched letters, starting a campaign opposing the build due to its location along the iconic Cabot Trail.

“Green Cove was a community at one point until a highway was added,” notes Mobbs. “Now it’s a parking lot and a boardwalk, that’s all that’s there now since 1932.”

Mobbs asserts that the project (if implemented) would have redone the existing parking lot and brought it up to modern standards, with the addition of a gateway on the bridge which would provide a safer, more level entrance to the popular ‘look out’ spot.

“There would be different plaques honouring the battles that occurred along the boardwalk,” notes Mobbs. “This idea was to honour our fallen and all wars… not to glorify war.”

In 2016, Parks Canada cancelled the $100,000 grant intended for the project just two months after the Liberal Government came into power. Those involved with the National Memorial project claim they were not given a proper reason for the cancellation and are left with an incomplete project that has already incurred over $2 million in costs in order to comply with requirements mandated by the government (including environmental studies).

“Parks Canada issued the permit to commence but then the government changed their minds,” explains Mobbs. “When Trudeau came into power in February, right after elections for unknown reasons and without consultation, Parks Canada withdrew… we were not consulted or given any reasons… it was just done.”

Daniel Watson, Chief Executive Officer of Parks Canada said in an interview with the Globe and Mail that there were “too many problems preventing its completion” coupled with concerns surrounding available ‘private funds’ to back the project’s build.

The NFNM Foundation had numerous supports and endorsed letters from Legions and Veteran Clubs across Ontario and other Canadian provinces in full support of the project, including letters from the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury and the Bradford Legion (Orville Branch 521).

But unfortunately, the support was not enough.

Mobbs notes there have been several ‘unflattering’ articles online posted about the controversial monument with comments stating it is ‘too big’.

“This is a national Canadian memorial, to honour our fallen… it’s not about politics!” explains Mobbs, who spent years working with Parks Canada on the project and volunteered hundreds of hours giving short presentations to communities and Legions about the build. “Throughout Canada, we do have a ‘separation’ and we see this monument as an opportunity to bring all Canadians together and heal some of the things that have occurred and work together.”

The NFNM currently has a petition on their website ( requesting signatures from anyone who wishes to support the continuation of the Memorial project. The petition currently has over 175 signatures.

“All the people involved in this are all focused on one thing – to build this for Canadians. Nothing to do with politics, to glorify war, one purpose, to honour our fallen that can’t return home… Everyone can relate to this – an uncle, aunt, grandfather that’s been in the war. It’s so personal and goes right to their hearts.

The memorial, once finished, will be given to the people of Canada. 

To read more about the project and its cancellation, visit: NFNM Feds Kill idea to erect Cape Breton Never Forgotten National Memorial, sloppily[15537].pdf