National monuments to be unveiled in Ottawa in 2017
May 12, 2015 – Ottawa – Veterans Affairs Canada
The Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, announced today that two memorials will be created in the nation’s capital to pay tribute to Canada’s Afghanistan mission and to Victoria Cross recipients. He was joined by the Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Minister responsible for the National Capital Commission, and Pierre Lemieux, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs.
The National Memorial to Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan and the National Victoria Cross Memorial will be placed at Richmond Landing, along Confederation Boulevard, as part of the new Memorial Route. This beautiful green space on the bank of the Ottawa River has views of Parliament Hill and will provide a quiet yet prominent place for Canadians and visitors to reflect on Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, and to read the names of those awarded the Victoria Cross. Both memorials and the Memorial Route will be officially unveiled in 2017, helping to mark Canada’s 150th year since Confederation.
The National Memorial to Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan, which was announced May 8, 2014, will serve as a testament to Canadians’ deep gratitude for the strength, courage and valour of Canadian Armed Forces members who reacted immediately to their call of duty and served in Afghanistan in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The memorial will also pay tribute to the service, sacrifices and accomplishments of many Canadians, both military and civilian, who helped begin to rebuild Afghanistan.
The National Victoria Cross Memorial will honour Canadians who have earned our nation’s highest award for valour, listing all of their names.
Competitions for designing and creating both memorials will be launched in the coming months.
For more information on Canada’s mission in Afghanistan and Victoria Cross recipients, please visit veterans.gc.ca.
Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan (2001-2014)
- More than 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces members were deployed to Afghanistan—the largest number since the Second World War.
- During the mission, in addition to civilians, 158 Canadian Armed Forces personnel were killed, making it the fifth most costly conflict, in terms of lives lost, in Canada’s post-Confederation military history, after the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War and the South African War.
- More than 2,000 Canadian military personnel were injured in Afghanistan.
- The Victoria Cross was instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856 as the highest military honour for gallantry, covering all actions since the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854.
- Since the Crimean War, 99 Canadians have been awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry; 38 posthumously.
- In 1993, a revised Victoria Cross was formally adopted into the Canadian Honours System.
- The 2.8-kilometre Memorial Route will link existing and future commemorative landmarks in Ottawa that have particular significance to Canada’s military traditions and history. The route will connect the Cartier Square Drill Hall to the east with the Canadian War Museum to the west and includes the National War Memorial and the Parliament Buildings. It will feature interpretative elements that highlight military landmarks and enhance the commemorative experience for visitors.
“The National Memorial to Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan and the National Victoria Cross Memorial will honour the Canadians who have served our country with pride and valour. They will also act as enduring reminders of our duty, as Canadians, to remember and reflect, with pride and compassion, on the efforts and sacrifices made by all those touched by war and conflict.”
The Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs
“Today’s announcement was an opportunity to reflect upon the sacrifices made by our men and women in armed conflict throughout our history. The new memorials in Richmond Landing will honour those who have served to make it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms we do today.”
The Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Member of Parliament for Nepean–Carleton and Minister responsible for the National Capital Region
“As we prepare to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, marking key events in our history will contribute to a deeper understanding of how Canada became the strong, proud and free country it is today. These two memorials will pay tribute to the strength, sacrifices and accomplishments of Canadians and be a permanent place of commemoration in Canada’s Capital Region.”
The Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
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Office of the Minister of Veterans of Affairs
Veterans Affairs Canada