Lisgar Collegiate Institute has a history in Ottawa longer than Canada itself: founded in 1843, it just celebrated its 175th anniversary. Students entering the main doors of the school at 29 Lisgar St cannot help but turn their minds to WW1. In Memorial Hall they are surrounded by reminders of alumni and alumnae who served in the war. Continue reading
Yesterday, 28 January 2018, was the 100th anniversary of John McCrae’s death. Best known for his poem, In Flanders Fields, McCrae was a physician and a soldier.
McCrae was born and raised in a limestone cottage at 108 Water St in Guelph. The home has been restored as the McCrae House museum. A monument in the garden is dedicated to his memory. Ontario Heritage plaques mark McCrae’s birthplace and final resting place. Continue reading
In Flanders fields the poppies grow …
Inspired by John McCrae’s poem, poppies are a common sign of remembrance. Continue reading
While at least 50 members of the Canadian House of Commons enlisted in WW1, few saw active duty at the front. Only one was killed in action.
George Harold Baker – Harry to his friends – was born into a prominent family of United Empire Loyalists. He followed his father into law and then into politics, elected Member of Parliament for the riding of Brome, Quebec in 1911. He was also active in the local militia, so he was quick to volunteer for active service in WW1. He was killed in action on June 2, 1916 at Sanctuary Wood during the Battle of Mount Sorrel. Continue reading
A fine day in spots only. My ward is filled & I am very busy but enjoy my work if it were only possible to forget its cause. (March 2, 1916, p 106)
The dominant memory of WW1 is that of men. Soldiers were, after all, the vast majority on the front lines. But as Susan Mann points out in her introduction to The War Diary of Clare Gass, 1915-1918, wounded soldiers were accompanied and cared for by nurses at every stage of their journey through the military medical system except at the very first points closest to the front lines. Continue reading
Symbolism and remembrance stand side by side in a park at Trafalgar Square, where Woolwich St meets Wyndham St N and Eramosa Rd in Guelph. The former in a monument designed by sculptor Alfred Howell. The latter on a wall of plaques naming those who died.
The program for the dedication of the monument on Sunday 3 July 1927 describes “a magnificent and dignified tribute in honored memory of her sons and daughters who paid the supreme sacrifice in the Great War for Civilization.” Continue reading
Two stone war memorials stand in Orangeville’s Alexandra Park, 11 Second St at First Ave, behind the town hall.
The cenotaph honours Dufferin County residents who died in WW1. (WW2, Korea and Afghanistan have since been added.) It was unveiled in November 1923, “in proud and grateful memory of those who gave their lives for freedom, truth and righteousness.” Continue reading
At the southeast corner of De Witt Clinton Park, at 11th Ave and 52nd St in New York City, stands a bronze doughboy holding poppies in his right hand and a rifle slung over his shoulder. The front of the granite pedestal is inscribed with the closing verse from John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Field.
The statue is dedicated “by comrades and friends under the auspices of Clinton District Monument Association as a memorial to the young folk of this neighborhood who gave their all in the world war.” According to the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, this is one of nine doughboy statues erected in NYC city parks. Continue reading
The Niagara Township war memorial – also known as the Queenston cenotaph – is at the intersection of the Niagara Parkway and Queenston St, now part of the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The monument was dedicated on 11 November 1926 by Ontario Lieutenant Governor Henry Cockshutt. It was “erected to the memory of the men of Niagara Township who gave their lives for freedom in the Great War … whose names are here recorded, and in honour of those who served.” A bronze statue of an infantry soldier tops a granite base. A laurel wreath encircles “lest we forget” on each side. WW1 names are on the right side, WW2 on the left. Seventeen WW1 battles are listed on the back. “To you from falling hands we throw the torch, be yours to lift it high” – a line from In Flanders Fields – graces the front.
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