Some monument-admiring tourists may have no idea what they’re looking at this summer after the recent thefts of descriptive bronze plaques from several city landmarks.

City police are investigating the theft and damage of National Capital Commission property, including seven stolen bronze plaques and three incidents of graffiti. The thefts, which began with a medallion from the Mackenzie-Papineau Monument in January, mystify NCC staff.

“At this point, we don’t have any idea,” said Janet McGowan, co-ordinator of commendation and public art programs.

Six of the commemorative signs measure two feet by one, while the seventh is an interpretive panel describing the Wilderness Highway that measures two-by-three feet.

It’s possible the plaques were targeted because they are metal, said Ottawa Police Const. Jean Paul Vincelette.

“We can’t confirm it, but a lot of the stuff is metal and it’s worth a lot of money right now,” he said.
Or could it be a rogue collector? McGowan can’t say. “There’s no vein that links the monuments,” she said. “They all have very different styles and subjects.”

Other bronze items have been taken from the Building for a New Canada panel, Sappers’ Bridge plaque, Champlain statue, Boundary Marker, Ansishinabe Scout and Canal Stones. Several thefts were this month.

Three NCC sculptures in Portageurs Park and Brébeuf Park were also vandalized with graffiti.
The plaques, valued at $25,000, will likely not be replaced until after Canada Day.

“We’re evaluating different materials and looking at better options to better secure the bronze plaques that we still have,” said McGowan.

“I don’t see them replaced before the tourist season.”


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