Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Canadian Soldier Honouring the Fallen, Soldiers’ Tower, Toronto

April 9-12 marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, part of the Battle of Arras. On a snowy Easter Monday in 1917, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought together for the first (and only) time. Training and tactics won the ridge, but at the cost of about 3,600 Canadian lives. 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 – Eugenia Falls Conservation Area, ON

UNTIL THE DAY BREAK AND SHADOWS FLEE AWAY (Song of Solomon)

Eugenia is a hamlet in Grey County, Ontario. Its key attraction is the Eugenia Falls Conservation Area, where the Beaver River falls 30 metres over the Niagara Escarpment. Nice place for a peaceful walk to see the falls and Eugenia’s war memorial.

Dedicated in 1921, the war memorial lists the men of the area who served (“those who daring to die survived”) and who died (“our gallant dead”). The young soldier is flanked by cannons. Crossed rifles and swords are under the names. The monument is decorated with maple leaves and palm laurels. A faded “S. Borland, Collingwood” on the base likely denotes the maker.  

A gingko tree next to the monument is dedicated to Lt John Allison, MC. Allison was a second year medical student at the University of Toronto when he enlisted. He was killed in 1918 while flying reconnaissance in Mesopotamia.


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Soldiers’ Tower, University of Toronto, Toronto

The Soldiers’ Tower stands just west of Queen’s Park Circle on the St George Campus of the University of Toronto.  At 143 feet, it is second only to the Peace Tower in Ottawa as the tallest war memorial in Canada.

Shortly after the end of WW1, the U of T Alumni Association started to raise funds to build a memorial tower and endow scholarships to honour the alumni, students, faculty and staff who had died in the war. The cornerstone was laid on November 11, 1919 by the Duke of Devonshire, Governor General of Canada. The tower was dedicated in June 1924. The clock and carillon were added in 1927. The architects were Henry Sproatt and Ernest Rolph.

Surplus funds from the fundraising appeal still provide scholarships at the university.

Other elements of the U of T memorial – the Memorial Screen on which is carved the names of 628 U of T men and women who died in WW1, and the Memorial Chamber above the archway of the tower that houses a small museum – will be featured in future Monday Monuments and Memorials.