Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – War Memorial, Summerside, PEI

Memorial Square, originally Dominion Square, is the oldest public park in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. The pretty park with meandering paths is bordered by Summer, Spring and Church Streets. The war memorial is the focal point at the centre of the block.

A bronze soldier going over the top, rifle in hand, tops a granite base. Emanuel Hahn was the sculptor, for the Thomson Monument Company. Another copy of Hahn’s sculpture tops the war memorial in Saint-Lambert, QC. Continue reading

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Cenotaph, Owen Sound, ON

The Owen Sound cenotaph is in Queen’s Park, on 1st Ave W at the corner of 8th St W backing on the Sydenham River.

The cenotaph was designed by Emanuel Hahn, working for the Thomson Monument Company. It was dedicated on 1 Dec 1921. Continue reading


Monday Monuments and Memorials – Canadian Bank of Commerce, Toronto

The 34-storey headquarters of the Canadian Bank of Commerce (now known as Commerce Court North) was the tallest building in the Commonwealth from 1931 to 1962. Built at a time when banks were temples, this art deco temple incorporates a memorial to bank staff killed in WW1. Continue reading

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Remembered in Bronze and Stone – Canada’s Great War Memorial Statuary

Early in my days of researching monuments for Great War 100 Reads, I discovered Alan Livingstone MacLeod’s albums on Flickr. Beautiful photos documenting WW1 monuments across Canada, and a good source in trying to sort out Emanuel Hahn’s work from the imitations. So I am delighted to find that he has written a book featuring his photos, Remembered in Bronze and Stone, published in November 2016. Continue reading

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Cenotaph Park, Priceville, ON

Travelling on County Road 4 between Durham and Flesherton in Grey County, turn onto Kincardine St in the village of Priceville to find Cenotaph Park. A soldier stands over a grave marker of logs encircled by a laurel wreath and with poppies growing at the base. The marble statue stands on a granite plinth. Continue reading


Monday Monuments and Memorials – Postcards of Ontario

Remember postcards? Used to be a common way to send travel greetings to friends. We rarely send them now, with the ease of instant photos and social media.

Postcards offer a glimpse into the kinds of scenes and sentiments that people want to remember. I happened upon a sale of old postcards recently. Flipping through the boxes, I was surprised to see many war memorials. Here are a few. Continue reading

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Eramosa Township Cenotaph, Rockwood ON

The Rockwood cenotaph occupies the southeast corner of Main St S and Guelph St, on land donated by St John’s Anglican Church. It was dedicated on 29 Aug 1919 and claims to be the first local monument erected by a municipality. Eleven WW1 soldiers from the village of Rockwood and surrounding Eramosa Township are remembered. Wings were added for WW2 soldiers in 1946. The monument was rededicated in 2012, with new landscaping and ramps to make the area easier to access. Continue reading

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – In Flanders Fields

Tomorrow marks 100 years since John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields was first published – anonymously – in Punch magazine. Since then, the poem and its symbolic poppies have been linked to the remembrance of loss and sacrifice in war.

In today’s gallery:

  • The last lines of poem are on the base of the cenotaph in Orangeville, Ontario.
  • Copies of The Grieving Soldier by Emanuel Hahn grace many Canadian communities. This one is in Hanover, Ontario.
  • John McCrae statue by Ruth Abernethy, Green Island, Ottawa. Another cast of the statue is in Guelph, his birthplace.
  • National Military Cemetery, in Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa
  • Memorial Room, Students’ Memorial Union, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario
  • Memorial Chamber, Peace Tower, Parliament Hill, Ottawa
  • University College Memorial Plaque, Memorial Room, Soldiers Tower, University of Toronto
  • End wall of WW1 Memorial Screen, University of Toronto

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Tommy in Greatcoat, Moncton, NB

Tommy in Greatcoat is another monument designed by Emanuel Hahn and executed by the Thomson Monument Company. This version is in Victoria Park in Moncton, facing John St between Weldon and Cameron. It was erected by the local chapter of the IODE and dedicated in 1922.

The bronze figure stands on a granite base carved with the standard names of those killed and battles in which they fought. Black granite “books” were added on three sides at a later date, to mark WW2 and the Korean War.

One nursing sister is listed amongst the soldiers. Ruth Esther McKay was born in Moncton in November 1891. She graduated as a nurse in 1916 at the Winnipeg General Hospital. She enlisted as a nursing sister in March 1917. The January 1921 edition of The Canadian Nurse marks her death: “Miss Ruth McKay (WGH 16), at Albany NY, of septicemia following an operation for appendicitis. 1920” (vol 17, p 119)

Another Tommy in Greatcoat can be found in Lindsay, ON. As with other popular Hahn statues, several imitations in other locations borrow heavily on the design.


Monday Monuments and Memorials – Grieving Soldier, Hanover, ON

Is the Grieving Soldier, sometimes called In Flanders Fields, the most popular war memorial in Canada? You might think so, given the number of communities in which it (or some facsimile) stands.

This one in Hanover is in front of the public library at the corner of 10th St and 10th Ave. A project of the local International Order of the Daughters of the Empire (IODE), the library board and the town council, it was dedicated in 1922.

The Grieving Soldier was designed by sculptor Emanuel Hahn, then a monument designer for the Thomson Monument Company of Toronto. Bronze casts from Hahn’s original sculpture are in Cornwall, ON and Westville, NS. Granite versions were carved by other stone carvers at Thomson, following Hahn’s model. In addition to Hanover, copies are found in towns in Quebec (Gaspé), Ontario (Bolton, Milton, Petrolia, Thunder Bay), Manitoba (Russell) and British Columbia (Fernie). Imitations and influences created by other companies abound in other communities.

If you live in Canada, or if you have ever visited here, you’ve likely carried Emanuel Hahn’s work in your pocket. He designed the caribou on the quarter and the Bluenose schooner on the dime.