The soldiers’ monument in Paisley, Ontario stands in a square bound by Queen, Goldie and Water Streets, close to the confluence of the Saugeen and Teeswater Rivers. The monument, made of grey Stanstead granite, is a 15 ft pedestal on which stands a 7 ft soldier. The same figure from the McIntosh Granite Co is on the cenotaph in Picton, Ontario.
The monument was dedicated in May 1922, “in honored memory of the men of Paisley and adjoining Townships of Bruce, Elderslie, Greenock and Saugeen who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914 – 1919.” The 27 May edition of the Globe reported about 2000 people in attendance:
The service was most inspiring and impressive throughout. A guard of honor composed of veterans surrounded the monument, while seated in front were the parents and relatives of the fallen soldiers. The school children, numbering about 200, marched in a body from the school grounds to the square, and opened the service with the singing of ‘The Maple Leaf’ and ‘O, Canada,’ and at the conclusion of the meeting placed a large wreath on the monument. The Bruce Battalion Band of Chesley played the accompaniments throughout the service.
The Paisley names are listed on the front. Names from parts of the surrounding townships – Bruce East, Greenock North, Elderslie West and Saugeen East – are listed on the sides. (Each township contributed to two monuments, so names are listed in the town or village closest to the soldier’s residence.) There are 39 names in all.
Battles are listed on the back, along with an excerpt from Rupert Brooke’s poem, The Dead:
These laid the world away; poured out the red
Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
That men call age; –
And we have come into our heritage.
Paisley also honoured its citizens who returned from war service. The Preparedness League held a series of receptions in 1919 at which soldiers and three nursing sisters were given medals.
Paisley was the childhood home of war artist David Milne.