Soldiers' Tower

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Soldiers' Tower
Soldiers' Tower seen from the northwest on the university's Back Campus lawn
For members of the university who served in the World Wars
Unveiled 1924
Location University of Toronto
near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Designed by Henry Sproatt and Ernest Ross Rolph
names of alumni lost in the Great War (1914–18) and in the Second World War (1939–45).

Soldiers' Tower is a bell and clock tower at the University of Toronto that commemorates members of the university who served in the World Wars. Designed by architects Henry Sproatt and Ernest Ross Rolph, the Gothic Revival tower stands at 143 feet (43.6 m) tall and houses a carillon of 51 bells. The University of Toronto is the only Canadian university with a functioning carillon.[1]


After the Great War, university alumni raised $397,141 to erect the tower as a war memorial. The cornerstone was laid in 1919 by Victor Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire, the 11th Governor General of Canada. Construction was completed in 1924 at a cost of $252,500, with the surplus funds endowed for scholarships in perpetuity. The names of those lost in the Great War (1914–18) are etched on a sheltered stone screen adjacent to the tower's base, while the inner walls of the tower's stone archway are inscribed with the names of those lost in the Second World War (1939–45).

In 1927, the clock was installed and the carillon was dedicated with its first 23 bells. Both were purchased by the alumni association from the famous British firm Gillett & Johnston, which also cast the bells atop the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill. An additional 19 bells were purchased in 1952 to commemorate World War II, but could not be installed as they did not match the tone of the original bells. In 1976, the carillon was rededicated at its present size with the addition of 28 bells from Petit & Fritsen. The bells of Soldiers' Tower Carillon range in weight from 23 pounds to the bourdon's 4 tons, and are performed on special occasions such as convocation, reunions, homecoming and Remembrance Day in addition to regular recitals attended by university members and the general public.


One of the stained glass windows at the tower

The tower features a dramatic 12-panel stained-glass window that is partly a visual interpretation of John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields", along with 8 smaller stained-glass windows that depict men and women of the armed forces at wartime. This memorial is dedicated to members of the University of Toronto who served in the First and Second World Wars.[2] A museum within the tower showcases a collection of medals, memorial books, portraits, photographs, flags and miscellaneous memorabilia from the period. A memorial stained glass window is dedicated to three University College students killed in the Fenian Raids.[3] High on the wall of the Memorial Room there is a memorial carved in stone for each of the Carillon of 51 bells (iron plus playing console) which memorialize individuals at the University of Toronto who lost their lives in World War I.[4]


  1. ^ Canadian Encyclopedia Monuments, World Wars I and II
  2. ^ University of Toronto Memorial windows
  3. ^ University of Toronto stained glass window
  4. ^ University of Toronto Carillon of 51 bells

External links[edit]

Media related to Soldiers' Tower at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 43°39′48.5″N 79°23′42.5″W / 43.663472°N 79.395139°W / 43.663472; -79.395139