Toronto, ON
Cawthra Square Toronto AIDS Memorial since 23 June 1993
2700 names
Michael Lynch (1944-1991) - a poet, journalist, professor of English at the University of Toronto and a man who was active in groups such as Gay Fathers of Toronto and the Toronto Centre for Lesbian and Gay Studies – had the idea to create an AIDS Memorial in Toronto. On Lesbian and Gay Pride Day in 1988 a temporary Memorial in Cawthra Square Park displayed about 200 names.
A committee was formed, which included one Toronto City Councillor, an architect, and community members. A competition brief to design a permanent AIDS Memorial was issued in 1991. Architect Patrick Fahn’s winning design came to him clearly and quickly, and he has said that he prepared his proposal in one day. His design of a series of triangular columns was partly inspired by art deco styling, and the concept for simple plates to hold the names, plates that could easily be changed and updated for very little expense. To this day, Patrick remains involved as an advisor to the AIDS Memorial.
All funds for building the AIDS Memorial were raised within the community. The permanent AIDS Memorial was dedicated in Pride Week, 1993.
Once the Memorial was built, the task of collecting names, arranging for engraving, and upkeep of the Memorial pillars, plaques and lighting, was delegated to The 519 Community Centre by the Committee. Since there are a limited number of panels, the font size was reduced in 1996, and older plaques are re-engraved periodically to create room.
Requests for names to be engraved are accepted from lovers, friends and family members. Each year during June, a committee representing AIDS Service Organizations presents the AIDS Candlelight Vigil. Newly engraved names are read during the ceremony. The AIDS Memorial has a processional feel. Memorial ceremonies for individuals are held there, and flowers and keepsakes are left to be collected or cleaned up.

The 519 Church Street Community Centre