Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books

Monday Monuments and Memorials – Currie Gymnasium, Memorial Hall & 10th Canadian Siege Battery Flagpole, Montreal

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Happy 2018! Have you resolved to get into better shape this year? Here’s a war memorial for you.

The Sir Arthur Currie Memorial Gymnasium is at 475, ave des Pins ouest, in Montreal. McGill University students were making good use of the facilities on the day I visited.

According to the McGill University website:

In 1939, the Sir Arthur Currie Memorial Gymnasium-Armoury was constructed on the north side of Pine Avenue, just east of University Street. Sir Arthur Currie, for whom the gym was named, had been a highly-decorated general in World War I, after which he became principal of McGill from 1920 to 1933, the year of his death. The Gymnasium was paid for in part by a posthumous donation from Lord Strathcona, a long-standing benefactor of McGill, and in part by the Graduate Society which had been raising money and planning for years for this facility. In 1935, the Society held a competition for the best gym design among architectural graduates of McGill; the winner was commissioned to build the Gymnasium. Work on this brick structure was advanced rapidly with the onset of World War II in 1939. Due to its function and the limited funds at the time, no ornamentation was to be found throughout the structure and the swimming pool was not started. The gym ceiling is supported by trusses so that no pillars disturb the floor space. In 1947, the gym was extended and the swimming pool and the Memorial Hall were installed. The marble-floored Hall contains paintings of McGill’s history and a wall of the names of all the graduates who gave their lives in the two World Wars. In 1994, an indoor track and tennis courts were added to the east end of the Gymnasium complex by the firm of Werlman and Guy.

The cornerstone beside the gym entrance was laid by Lady Currie on 4 Nov 1939. The cornerstone on the Memorial Hall was laid by Governor General Alexander of Tunis on 6 Oct 1946. It is mostly unused today, in need of repairs. Over the Memorial Hall door, the inscription reads (in Greek and English) “time dims not the achievement of the brave but worth shines steadfast even from the grave.”

A flagpole in front of the gym names 16 members of the 10th Canadian Siege Battery killed in WW1: Guy Ambrose, Graeme Anderson, Edward Beckwith, Duncan Chisholm, Morrey Cross, Alfred Emerson, Eric Fraser, Reginald Fraser, William Hamilton, Mervyn Jones, Hugh MacDonald, William MacRae, Wayland McRitchie, Lionel Oliver, Harold Suttie and Ralph Willoughby. The unit was organized in 1917, composed almost entirely of men from McGill. The flagpole was dedicated in October 1921 by Governor General Byng.

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Author: greatwar100reads

Canadian crusader for equality and justice. Connoisseur and creator of the written word. Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books and monuments. Read more at greatwar100reads.wordpress.com.

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