Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Central United Church, Calgary

Over 200 congregants of Calgary’s Central Methodist Church – 201 men, one underage boy and three women – served in WW1. Thirty-six men died. All are remembered on a large brass plaque in the basement of the church, now Central United, at the corner of Seventh Avenue and First Street SW. Continue reading

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Knox United Church, Calgary

Several elements in Knox Presbyterian (now United) Church honour congregants who served in WW1. The usual honour roll plaques listing those who died and those who enlisted are there. But it is a colourful stained glass memorial window that dominates the sanctuary. Continue reading

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Calgary Soldiers’ Memorial, Calgary, AB

The Calgary Soldiers’ Memorial stands in the park that runs between Memorial Drive and the Bow River, east of Poppy Plaza between 10 St NW and 14 St NW. It forms part of the Landscape of Memory park project along Memorial Drive. Continue reading

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Western Canada College Cenotaph, Calgary, AB

This monument commemorates those boys of Western Canada College who, at the dawn of their manhood, died for their country in the Great War.

Western Canada College (now Western Canada High School, and always a secondary school despite its original name) lives on 17th Ave SW at 6th St SW in Calgary. WCC was a founded in 1903 as a British-style private school for boys. After WW1, it was sold to the Calgary Board of Education. While the original WCC buildings were replaced in later decades, the cenotaph remains to commemorate students and graduates who were killed in WW1. Continue reading

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – 10th Battalion, Old City Hall, Calgary

The 10th Battalion, created in 1914 as an infantry battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, was amongst the first Canadian contingents to sail for the UK in 1914. Recruits were largely from Calgary and other parts of Alberta. Continue reading

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Canadian Legion Calgary (Alberta No. 1) Branch, Calgary AB

The end of WW1 saw a proliferation of veterans groups and regimental associations working to help returned soldiers in Canada. Their fragmented efforts did not lead to great success. Several groups came together to form the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League in 1926. This history is evident on the facade of the Canadian Legion Calgary (Alberta No. 1) Branch at 116 – 7 Avenue SE. Continue reading

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Remembrance Whensoever

A comment on last Monday’s memorial to the Broad brothers at Calgary’s Central United Church got me thinking about how communities came together to show respect to those who had served in the war.

It seems that it was many years after the war before plaques were erected. In this case, 1923. Is there any explanation of the delay between the end of the war in 1918 and these expressions of remembrance? Did people, at first, feel their grief so profoundly that they could not think of things like plaques and statues? Was commemoration encouraged by the government or Church in the 1920s and we are seeing the results of that?

Good question. Several reasons, I suspect. Continue reading


Monday Monuments and Memorials – Broad Brothers, Central United Church, Calgary

A memorial service at Central Methodist Church on 1 July 1923 honoured three brothers killed in WW1. William, Thomas and Percy were sons of William Tucker Broad and Caroline G. Broad. The plaque remains in the sanctuary of what is now Central United Church.

All three are buried in France. Continue reading

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – First World War Memorial, Calgary, AB

The First World War Memorial faces 2nd St SW, between 12 Ave SW and 13 Ave SW, at the east end of Calgary’s Central Memorial Park – not to be confused with the cenotaph at the west end of the park. The monument was sponsored by the Col MacLeod Branch of the IODE at a cost of $5500. It was dedicated in June 1924 “to the imperishable glory of the men of this province (Alberta) who fought and died for their King and Country in the Great War.”

Originally called the Victory Statue, the monument is comprised of a bronze statue of an infantry soldier by Montreal sculptor Coeur de Lion MacCarthy mounted on a pedestal of Bedford stone. An article in the 21 June 1924 Calgary Daily Herald describes the statue as “a young Canadian soldier exultant over news of the signing of the Armistice. With uplifted rifle he stands, bareheaded, the attitude denoting victory and exaltation.”  

Canadian war memorials that celebrate victory are not the norm. Most pay tribute to sacrifice, suffering, honour and grief.

As an aside, the Woman’s Community Interests page in the Calgary Daily Herald linked above also previews the upcoming cat fashion show (precursor of today’s pervasive cute cat videos?) and advertises “if every man had to do the washing every home would have a Maytag.”