Canada Gate and Canada Memorial

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Canada Gate and Canada Memorial
Canada
Canada Gate.jpg
Canada Gate, Green Park, London
For Queen Victoria; 113,663 members of the Canadian Forces killed during the First and Second World Wars
Unveiled as part of a vast memorial scheme dedicated to Queen Victoria; Canada Memorial erected in 1992;
Location near Canada
Designed by Sir Aston Webb.

Canada Gate (or commonly called Maroto Gate) and Canada Memorial are located in Green Park, London. The gate forms part of the city's Queen Victoria Memorial scheme. The Canada Memorial erected in 1992, behind the gate, is a tribute to the 113,663 members of the Canadian Forces killed during the First and Second World Wars.[1]

Canada Gate[edit]

Avenue leading to the Canada Gate and Victoria memorial. The Canada Memorial is within the park, just to the right of the gate and in sight of the palace which is to the right of the memorial.Canada Gate, an entrance to the Green Park, one of the four central London "Royal" parks, was presented to London by Canada (then the senior Dominion of the British Empire) as part of a vast memorial scheme dedicated to Queen Victoria, who died in 1901. The entire memorial, more an act of town planning than funerary monument, was designed by Sir Aston Webb. It takes the form of a processional route from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace. Beginning at Admiralty Arch, the project takes in The Mall and culminates in a "rond point" before the palace, with Sir Thomas Brock's Victoria Memorial at its centre.[2] The Canada Gate was commissioned, in 1905, along with the gates for Buckingham Palace and two other similar, but smaller gates presented by Australia and South Africa. The commission was won by the Bromsgrove Guild (a company of modern artists and designers associated with the Arts and Crafts Movement) who completed the work and had the gate in situ by 1911.[3][4]

The gate stands to the north side of the "rond point" at the junction with Constitution Hill; today, a congested roundabout, but occasionally closed to traffic when the Mall is required for state processions from the palace. From the gate, a long double avenue stretches the width of the park through to Piccadilly.

The gate is in the same style as those of Buckingham Palace and bears the emblems of the seven Canadian provinces of the time. In design, Canada Gate takes the form of a screen consisting of 5 portals of gilded wrought iron, the central section being the principal and largest gate; the double gates are supported on columns of iron. The two wrought iron bays flanking the central gate contain smaller gates, while the two terminating bays contain smaller pedestrian gates. The screen is terminated by two massive pillars of Portland stone surmounted by patriotic statuary. The flanking inner columns are smaller and, like the iron posts, are crowned by gas lanterns of similar design to those on the pillars of the palace railings.

The Canada Memorial[edit]

The Canada Memorial, Green Park, London.

The Canada Memorial designed by the late Canadian sculptor Pierre Granche was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994.[5] It lies within the park, a few metres behind the Canada Gate. The memorial honours the thousands of members of the Canadian forces killed in during both world wars of the 20th century. The memorial was the result of lobbying and fund raising, much of it in Canada, by the former Canadian media tycoon Conrad Black.[6]

Pierre Granche, one of Canada's foremost sculptors, won the commission as the result of a competition, sculpted the memorial from red granite; it is divided by a walkway into two distinct halves, representing Britain and Canada's joint participation in World Wars I and II. The inclined sculpture is inset with bronze maple leaves (the Canadian emblem) and the country's coat of arms. Water flows across the sloping surface and creates an illusion of floating leaves.[7] An inscription at the centre of the memorial reads:

"In two world wars one million Canadians came to Britain and joined the fight for freedom. From danger shared, our friendship prospers."

From 2004, following a change in fortunes of the memorial's patron, Conrad Black, the memorial fell into disrepair and became subject to debate concerning its maintenance.[8] In 2008, the Canadian Government assumed responsibility for the upkeep of the memorial: announcing "Our Government will ensure that the Canada Memorial in London, England, has the long-term care and upkeep it deserves as a lasting and fitting tribute to our nations truest heroes."[9] As of October, 2011, the memorial was fenced off and not operational, despite 50,000 pounds spent by Veterans Affairs Canada in renovations and upkeep.[10] After refurbishment of corroded pipes and fittings, the memorial has now reopened. [11]

Canada Memorial Foundation[edit]

At the same time as the Memorial was being built and unveiled, the same group of people behind it raised an endowment called the Canada Memorial Foundation. Since the early 1990s that endowment has been sending British students to do post-graduate studies at Canadian universities. It is managed by volunteer trustees and is completely separate from the Green Park Memorial. However, the Foundation shares similar aims of encouraging the connections and cooperation between Britain and Canada.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Casualty figure taken from Canada at War, First World War: 66,665. Second World War: 46,998
  2. ^ Edwardian London provides some general contemporary information on the memorial scheme.
  3. ^ Worcestershire
  4. ^ The Times, Thursday, May 11, 1911; pg. 10; Issue 39582 mentions the gate in its report of the unveiling of the Victoria Memorial statue
  5. ^ Veterans Affairs Canada
  6. ^ Potter
  7. ^ Veterans Affairs Canada
  8. ^ CBC
  9. ^ International Business Times
  10. ^ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/tear-down-the-wall-around-londons-canada-memorial/article2205396/
  11. ^ http://www.hydraquip.co.uk/the-royal-refurbishment/

References[edit]

External links[edit]