MONTREAL — The gazebo’s decaying shingles are curling to the sky, its rust spots are partially covered by graffiti, and its floorboards were being used Wednesday as a makeshift motel by a scruffy-looking man.
This dilapidated Montreal structure has been designated in honour of Mordecai Richler, one of Canada’s literary giants.
The famed, yet frequently controversial, author’s hometown is planning to refurbish the Mont Royal Park gazebo and convert it to a speaker’s corner by next summer.
Richler’s widow believes even the gazebo’s current state of disrepair would have appealed to her late husband — spray-paint and all.
“Were the graffiti to be left, I think somehow that would have delighted Mordecai because … it would be critical and that was his nature,” Florence Richler said Wednesday after a ceremony at Montreal City Hall.
The gazebo idea drew criticism in the city and outside, in English Canada, by people who deemed it an inadequate tribute for the acclaimed writer.
But Richler’s family is proud his name will live on in a leafy park not far from his old neighbourhood.