Remembering Raymond | The Coast Halifax

Remembering Raymond

A permanent memorial to honour Taavel is planned for Gottingen

Remembering Raymond
The current Raymond Taavel memorial garden.

A permanent, likely colourful tribute to Raymond Taavel will be coming to Gottingen Street.

Last week, a small group of community members gathered at the Halifax North Memorial Branch Public Library to brainstorm ideas for a permanent memorial to replace the current Raymond Taavel Healing Garden.

“People liked generally including rainbows as part of the symbolism, because that’s how we chose to remember Raymond,” says Kevin Kindred, of the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project and one of the attendees.

A rainbow streetlight, one of several potential ideas, was something that Kindred says he found particularly fitting.

“That symbolic sort of, being a beacon of light is something that is consistent with people’s memories of Raymond.”

Other potential memorials the group conceived included a soapbox structure to evoke community conversation, and renaming the laneway from Gottingen to Maitland Street (which runs next to the current memorial garden) in Taavel’s memory.

The current memorial, located in the lot of the former Met building, is soon to be redeveloped, necessitating the need to dismantle the garden and find another way to honour Raymond Taavel’s legacy.

A community activist and gay rights advocate, Taavel was killed in 2012 outside of Menz & Mollyz bar, across the street from where the memorial garden now stands. Currently awaiting trial, Andre Noel Denny has been charged with second-degree murder in his death.

More meetings will occur as plans for the permanent memorial take shape, though Kindred says something temporary will likely appear in time for the Gottingen 250 celebration in September, which will take place on the site of the current memorial garden.

More info on that festival can be found here.