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Staff Picks: 10 Monuments for Paying Respect

Remembrance Day approaches on November 11. Whether on that day or any other, if you find yourself nearby one of Toronto’s many memorial sites, stop for a moment to honour those veterans who’ve served our country in times of war and peace.

The Canadian Airman's Memorial has a prominent place along University Avenue (photo by Ian Muttoo)

48th Highlanders Regimental Memorial
This monument was erected in honour of those who served in World Wars I and II. The tower-like granite memorial is adorned with inscribed bronze plaques and stands at the top of Queen’s Park Crescent (just north of another striking statue—that of a mounted King Edward VII).

Canadian Airman’s Memorial
A soaring monument of bronze and marble—designed in 1984 by Croatian-British sculptor Oscar Nemon—features a stylized figure reaching skyward and pays tribute to the airmen who fought for our freedom. Located at University Avenue and Dundas Street, the sculpture is titled Per Ardua ad Astra (“Through adversity to the stars”) after the motto of the Royal Air Force.

Fort York National Historic Site
The entirety of this historic site is a monument to a significant event in Canadian nation-building—the War of 1812. Built by the British in the late 18th century, it was the site of major battles and is home to the country’s largest collection of original War of 1812-era structures. Fort York is open year-round for tours and general sightseeing. 100 Garrison Rd., 416-392-6907.

Monument to the War of 1812
Well-known author and contemporary artist Douglas Coupland created this modern interpretation of a war memorial, featuring two large toy soldiers characterizing the combatants in the War of 1812 (a gold soldier representing Canada stands, while the silver American soldier lies fallen.) The statue is situated at Lake Shore Boulevard and Fleet Street, just south of Fort York.

Old City Hall Cenotaph
Situated in front of the steps at Old City Hall at Queen and Bay streets, this cenotaph pays tribute to all soldiers who have lost their lives while serving for Canada—“Our glorious dead,” as the monument names them. Due to of its central location, this site is also used for Remembrance Day ceremonies on November 11.

Sons of England War Memorial
Commissioned by the Toronto Sons of England, the memorial was fashioned by Charles Adamson, a Scot who served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War I. Hundreds of WWI soldiers’ names are engraved on the outside of the memorial, paying tribute to the fallen at University Avenue and Elm Street.

South African War Memorial
Toronto-born sculptor Walter Seymour Allward designed this monument in 1910. (He would later create the iconic Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France.) Honouring Canadians who fought for the British Empire during the Boer War, the memorial at University Avenue and Queen Street consists of bronze figures seated at the base of a granite column.

War of 1812 Memorial
The British Army and Navy Veterans erected this unassuming memorial (another by Walter Seymour Allward) in 1906 to recognize the defense of York and Upper Canada’s Western Front. It sits in a quiet parkette at Portland and Niagara streets.

William Barker memorial at Mount Pleasant Cemetery
A WWI flying ace—he shot down 50 enemy planes—William Barker, was one of Canada’s most decorated war heroes, yet his memory was nearly lost to history. Fortunately a long overdue memorial plaque was unveiled near his final resting place at Mount Pleasant Cemetery. 375 Mount Pleasant Rd., 416-485-9129

World War II Memorial at Osgoode Hall
This WWII memorial sits in the rotunda of Osgoode Hall (at Queen Street and University Avenue), home to the Law Society of Upper Canada. A large bronze woman holds a baby symbolizing hope and a new beginning.

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