There are small embarrassments, and there are embarrassments of the large, public variety. The city of Ottawa is experiencing the latter. In an effort to honor (honour?) local hero Jack Purcell, also known as the Stick Doctor, the city hired an artist to create a monument in a local park. Turns out, the designer has access to Google, but missed a few steps in the fact checking process. Instead of researching Jack Purcell, Stick Doctor from Ottawa, the artist read up on Jack Purcell, badminton champion from Ontario. The result? A grouping of giant abstract badminton rackets that look nothing like hockey sticks. They barely even look like rackets. Guesses from citizens have included giant question marks, lollipops, and quidditch goals. Oops.
The city is trying to save face by now calling the sculptures futuristic trees. Fifty thousand dollar futuristic trees in a park honoring a man who mended hockey sticks to donate to kids in need. Totally makes sense!
Oh, Ottawa. How did no one catch this before the design of these tree/racket/sticks was approved? Fortunately, they did catch the error before installation. Strings were removed from the rackets to make the tree theory more plausible.
So, how did this happen? “I think [the consultant] just Googled ‘Jack Purcell,’ and the only thing that comes up is the badminton player,” stated Ward Councillor Diane Holmes to the Ottawa Citizen. “The Ottawa-hockey-stick-helper-out-of-kids doesn’t come up on Google.” Just a hunch, but I’m betting he does now.