Random monuments { no.1 } – Raoul Wallenberg Square

Medieval Courtyard - work of the author, December 2008

Named after the Swedish humanitarian who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from the terror of the Holocaust, the small square behind Christ Church Cathedral features a bust of Raoul Wallenberg in a cage wrapped in barbed wire, an emblematic image of the concentration camps. Wallenberg was likely killed by the NKVD on suspicion of being an American spy sometime in 1945 or 1947 – his feats of heroism and bravery during the war earned him a spot as a honourary citizen of Canada and as one of the ‘Righteous among the nations’, an honorific bestowed by the state of Israel. The Square is composed of three principle buildings; aside from the cathedral, there’s the former presbytery, now a French restaurant and the Tour KPMG. Along the union side, there’s an arcade-wall with plaques demonstrating what stars and constellations can be seen from the square at certain times of the year. It’s an extremely pleasant little spot, particularly enjoyable in the summertime when the city’s birds make excellent use of the fountain. Moreover, the trees along the edge of the ‘courtyard’ portion, pictured here, have been pruned to make each bench feel like a private alcove. Enchanting really; a must-see.

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