Art Helps us Remember

November 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

100 years ago, Canada was on the brink of the Great War.  Raging on European battlefields from 1914 to 1918, the First World War took the lives of more than 66,000 Canadian soldiers. Out of the horror of the trenches, however, came inspiration for many artists.  The most prominent art project is the monument at Vimy Ridge in France.  Designed by Canadian sculptor and architect Walter Seymour Allward, it took eleven years to build.

woman     The towering pylons and sculptured figures contain almost 6,000 tonnes of limestone. The largest piece in the monument is a cloaked figure of a mourning woman, standing at the front.  She represents Canada—a young nation mourning her dead.




There were also artists among the soldiers who huddled in the caves of France, waiting to be called to battle.  The fragile images that they carved in the chalk walls serve as a reminder that these young Canadians, many of them still teenagers, were proud of their country.

Soldier's Cave Carving-1






Finally, artists across Canada created memorials like the bronze sculpture in downtown Haliburton.

Haliburton memorial

This Remembrance Day, think about the importance of art and the part it plays in depicting history, memorializing those who served their country, and reflecting social change.


Ode of Remembrance

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.

Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them


They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;

They sit no more at familiar tables of home;

They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;

They sleep beyond England’s foam

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