Toronto Through My Lens

Category: Memorials (Page 1 of 3)

From The Vaults: Farewell, Jack

This post is based on an event from thirteen years ago, so I guess it qualifies for my so-called From The Vaults series.

A Bit Of Background

Everyone who has a pulse is familiar with the name Jack Layton (July 18, 1950 – August 22, 2011). Jack served as the leader of the NDP from 2003 to 2011 and was leader of the Official Opposition in 2011. Previous to that he sat on Toronto City Council, occasionally holding the title of Acting Mayor or Deputy Mayor of Toronto during his tenure as City Councillor. Jack was also the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Toronto-Danforth riding from 2004 until his death.

Jack rose to prominence in Toronto municipal politics, where he was one of the most prominent left-wing voices on the City and Metropolitan Toronto Councils, championing many progressive causes. In 1991, he ran for Mayor, losing to June Rowlands. Returning to Council, he rose to become head of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. In 2003, he was elected leader of the NDP.

Under Jack Layton’s leadership, support for the NDP increased in each election. The party’s popular vote almost doubled in the 2004 election, which gave the NDP the balance of power in Paul Martin’s minority government.

Jack died on August 22, 2011, after being diagnosed with cancer. He was survived by his wife of 23 years – our current Mayor – Olivia Chow.

Remembering Jack, Nathan Phillips Square

In the week before the funeral, Jack’s body was laid in state at Parliament Hill at the House of Commons foyer in Ottawa, then in repose at Toronto City Hall.

On August 26, 2011 a huge memorial for Jack was held in Nathan Phillips Square, outside Toronto City hall. It is from this memorial that my following pictures originate. It was a low-key but very powerful event; the love and respect for this man was clearly on display everywhere in the Square that evening:

Interment

Jack Layton’s ashes were scattered in three places: Cote St. Charles United Church in Hudson, Quebec where he was raised; on Toronto Island, where he was married; and at the Toronto Necropolis, near where he lived.

Here is Jack’s bronze bust atop a red granite pillar at the Toronto Necropolis:

Leaving A Legacy

For those interested, here is a CBC timeline of Jack Layton’s accomplishments

The Victory Peace Monument

The Victory Peace Monument is located in Coronation Park, 711 Lakeshore Boulevard West, just beside Lake Ontario. Victory Peace was unveiled on November 14, 1995, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, built in honour of those who died.

Designed by John McEwan, a Toronto-born artist, the structure is made up of two bronze arcs that sit on the ground quite close to the lake. When looking at the monument from afar, it appears as though the arcs form the sides of a boat’s bow. You can see the lake peeking through an opening between the two arcs, as if you’re on the boat headed through the water. The other opening faces inland.

The powerful words SACRIFICE and HOPE are part of the monument, within engravings of maple leaves.

The words for “peace” in multiple languages are engraved on the plaques on the ground.
A plaque sits at the monument that says, in both English and French: “A tribute to all Canadians at home and overseas who served their nation with courage, hope and sacrifice during World War II”

Remembrance Day 2023

A sombre Remembrance Day ceremony took place today around the Cenotaph at Old City Hall, 60 Queen Street West.

The City focused this year’s events around the 70th anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement that brought about the end of the Korean War. Other milestones honoured today were the 75th anniversary of Canadian participation in peacekeeping missions for the United Nations and the centennials of the Naval Reserve of Canada and HMCS York, a Royal Canadian Navy Reserve Division in Toronto.

The ceremonies began at 10:45 AM, starting with the singing of our national anthem, a reading of In Flanders Fields, a two-minute silence at 11:00, and a trumpeteer playing The Last Post:

A fly-past by the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association (CHAA)
Mayor Chow delivered her Remembrance Day message
The laying of wreaths on the Cenotaph
The ceremony concluded with people leaving their poppies on the Cenotaph
A special “Toronto Remembers” presentation on Queen Street West, outside Old City Hall

Other locations for today’s Remembrance Day ceremonies were:

  • Scarborough War Memorial: 2190 Kingston Road
  • East York Civic Centre – Memorial Gardens: 850 Coxwell Avenue
  • York Cemetery – Cenotaph: 160 Beecroft Road
  • York Civic Centre Cenotaph: 2700 Eglinton Avenue West
  • Etobicoke Civic Centre – Cenotaph: 399 The West Mall
  • Fort York National Historic Site: 100 Garrison Road

Victoria Memorial Square

At 10 Niagara Street, on the corner of Portland Street and Niagara, sits Victoria Memorial Square:

Victoria Memorial Square is a park and former cemetery. It was established in 1793 as the burial place for those affiliated with the nearby Toronto Garrison (Fort York). It was the first cemetery to be used by European settlers in what would become the city of Toronto. Originally known as St. John’s Square, the park today is part of Fort York National Historic Site.

The Old Soldier
War of 1812 Memorial

This monument in the Square is entitled The Old Soldier, and was erected by the British Army and Navy Veterans’ Association. It was erected to honour the dead of the War of 1812, on this site of an old burial ground used between 1794 and 1863 for soldiers and their families from nearby Fort York. 

The memorial was designed and constructed by Walter Seymour Allward. He designed a bronze half-length figure of an old one-armed soldier in the uniform of 1812 holding his military cap, the George IV medal on his chest and the end of one empty sleeve pinned up.

The memorial’s cornerstone was laid on July 1, 1902. The cornerstone featured a time capsule, including newspapers, coins, and other documents of the day. Veterans of several wars were on hand for the ceremony, including those who had served in the Crimean War, Second Opium War, Indian Rebellion of 1857, Second Anglo-Afghan War, Fenian Raids, North-West Rebellion, and the South African War. The official unveiling was on July 5, 1907, after nearly 20 years of planning and fundraising.

Inscriptions On The Memorial

DEFENCE OF YORK (NOW TORONTO)

IN MEMORY OF OFFICERS, NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS AND MEN WHO WERE KILLED OR DIED OF WOUNDS IN THE FOLLOWING REGIMENTS OR COMPANIES OF REGIMENTS ENGAGED IN THE DEFENCE OF YORK (TORONTO).

APRIL 27TH 1813

ROYAL ARTILLERY
ROYAL NAVAL ARTIFICES
8th REGIMENT (OF FOOT)
ROYAL NEWFOUNDLAND REGIMENT
CLENGARY FENCIBLES MILITIA
INCORPORATED MILITIA
Front Plaque
IN MEMORY OF OFFICERS, NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS AND MEN WHO
WERE KILLED, DIED OF WOUNDS AND DISEASE, IN THE FOLLOWING REGIMENTS OR COMPANIES OF REGIMENTS ENGAGED DURING THE WAR OF 1812-1815 UPON THE WESTERN CANADIAN FRONTIER, WEST OF KINGSTON.

Royal Artillery – Royal Engineers
19th Dracoons 41st Regiment 100th Regiment
1st Regiment 49th Regiment 103rd Regiment
6th Regiment 82nd Regiment 103th Regiment
8th Regiment 89th Regiment
Royal Veteran Rect.
Royal Newfoundland Rect.
Prov. Dracoons Militia
Wattsville Rect. Militia
Canadian Fencibles
Simcoe Militia
Clencary Fencibles Militia
York Rangers Militia
1st Norfolk Militia
Coloured Corps & Indians
Rear Plaque
“Dead in Battle – Dead in the field”
More than his life can a soldier yield?
His blood has burnished his sabre bright
To his memory, honour: To him, good night”

This monument is to perpetuate the memory and deeds of the officers, non-commissioned officers and men who gave their lives in the defence of Canada in the War of 1812-15 and is erected by the British Army and Navy Veterans residing in Toronto. Aided by generous subscriptions from the British Army and Navy, and the citizens of Canada.

July 1st 1902

BATTLE FIELDS

RIVER CANARD
BEAVER DAMS
BLACK ROCK
CHATEAUGUAY
CHRYSLER FARM
DETROIT
FORT NIAGARA
FORT ERIE
YORK
FORT GEORGE
LUNDY’S LANE
THAMES
STONY CREEK
Side Plaque

Surviving Headstones from the Military Burial Ground

The park is Toronto’s oldest cemetery. The downtown site was used as a burial ground for nearly seventy years, from 1794 to 1863. During that time, it saw hundreds of burials, including many soldiers from the War of 1812.

The park was created by Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe shortly after the establishment of the Garrison at York and the founding of the town. Simcoe’s infant daughter, Katherine, was one of the first to be buried at the cemetery which was closed in 1863 when it was deemed to be full.

The cemetery was converted to a park in the 1880s. Its grave sites were levelled, paths were established, and the 17 surviving headstones gathered along the park’s western edge:


Historical Photos

1885 – Military burying grounds, today’s Victoria Memorial Square (Toronto Public Library r-2851)
1913 – Looking northwest from Portland Street. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 52, Item 192.
1950 – City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257

References

Government of Canada, Veterans of Canada site

The Daily Hive

Statues & Monuments of Queen’s Park

It was a sunny Sunday (finally!) this past weekend, so I opted for a little wander through Queen’s Park to shoot a few of the statues, monuments and memorials there.

Tribute to Salome Bey, Canada’s Queen of the Blues

Not in Queen’s Park but this utility box on my way there caught my eye. In front of 2 Grosvenor Street, west of Yonge Street is “Tribute to Salome Bey, Canada’s Queen of the Blues” by Adrian Hayles, mounted in 2021. If the style looks familiar, this DJ/artist/muralist has done numerous murals in the city. In 2016, Adrian took 8 weeks to paint a 22 storey Downtown Yonge BIA music mural on the north wall of 423 Yonge Street, just south of College Street. The next year, he painted the south wall of the same building, continuing the musical theme. Adrian also painted a substantial mural on Reggae Lane in the Oakwood Avenue/Eglinton Avenue West area.

Hours of the Day Monument
Whitney Plaza, 23 Queens Park Crescent East


Ontario Police Memorial
Whitney Plaza, 23 Queen’s Park Crescent East


Lieutenant-Colonel John Graves Simcoe Monument

Lieutenant-Colonel John Graves Simcoe 1752-1806, First Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, 1791-1796. Founder of the City of Toronto July 30th 1793.

Northwest Rebellion Monument


Ontario Veteran’s Memorial
Queen’s Park, 100 Wellesley Street West


Afghanistan Memorial
Queen’s Park, 100 Wellesley Street West


Danger

Someone at Queen’s Park has a sense of humour

Robert Raikes

This bronze statue of Robert Raikes was executed by the sculptor Sir Thomas Brock in 1930. Raikes was often regarded as being the founder of Sunday schools. This statue was first erected in Great Britain in July 1880 and replicas where installed in Gloucester (1929) and then in Toronto.

Dr. Norman Bethune
1890-1939


Cannons at the Legislative Assembly

At the entrance to the Legislature there are two Russian cannons that were captured by the British during the Crimean war and sent to Toronto as a gift.

Queen Victoria Monument
Queen’s Park, 100 Wellesley Street West

Installed in 1902, this bronze statue of Queen Victoria on a stone pedestal was designed by Mario Raggi.

Post One Monument
Queen’s Park, 100 Wellesley Street West

To celebrate Canada’s centennial in 1967, a bronze map of the country was installed. It features surveyor tools and a time capsule to be opened in 2067.

Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion Monument

This monument to the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion, erected on the grounds of the Ontario provincial legislature in Toronto in 1995, was the first to commemorate Canadian involvement in International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War. Approximately 1500 Canadians volunteered to fight for the Republican cause, many out of ideological motives and class convictions underpinned by the experience of the Great Depression. They were often forced to make the long and arduous journey to Spain independently, since in 1937 the Canadian government had forbidden the involvement of its citizens in the Spanish Civil War through the passing of the Foreign Enlistment Act. Initially a number volunteered with the American Abraham Lincoln Brigade, but the substantial number of Canadian volunteers would ultimately lead to the formation of a separate battalion, named after two leaders of the unsuccessful Canadian rebellions against the British Crown in 1837-38.

Makeshift Memorial

Pairs of shoes have been placed in front of Queen’s Park as part of a makeshift memorial in response to the discovery of 215 children whose remains were found at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Plaque: King George V’s Silver Jubilee

Installed in 1935, this plaque commemorates the Silver Jubilee of King George V. Time and tide have taken its toll on the inscription and it’s difficult to see, but the text reads: “This tree was planted by James Simpson, Esq., Mayor of Toronto, on the occasion of the celebration of the Twenty-Fifth anniversary of the accession of King George the Fifth to the throne. May 6th 1935”.

Whatever…

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