Remembrance Day: The Meaning Behind Vancouver’s Monuments

This November 11th, take a moment of silence to remember those who fought and died for our freedom.

City & People

November 11th, 2018 marks the 100th year anniversary since the end of the first World War.

We recognize Remembrance Day as an opportunity to commemorate the soldiers who fought and died in the line of duty. WW1 is remembered as one of the deadliest conflicts in Canadian history, with our country losing roughly 61,000 citizens.

The MIX teamed up with Graham Handford aka @GeorgeVancouver. Taking time away from the Vancouver Archives, Handford walked us through the city explaining the importance of Vancouver’s war monuments as he went.

Japanese-Canadian War Memorial Archives: Japanese-Canadian War Memorial, Stanley Park, April 9, 1920. (AM1535-: CVA 99 – 3280, City of Vancouver Archives.)

The first monument, The Japanese Canadian War Memorial in Stanley Park, stands not just “as a testament to those who showed valour in the first World War, but also as a reminder to the socially divided past of Vancouver,” Handford tells us.

“This limestone cenotaph highlights the battle the Japanese-Canadians were involved in World War One. It also highlights the Japanese and British Columbian Crest. An historical fact, the torch at the top was actually blown out after the attack of Pearl Harbour and relit in 1985.”

Angel of Victory Archives: Unveiling of Memorial for C.P.R. employees, April 28, 1922. (AM54-S4-: Mon P100, City of Vancouver Archives.)

Waterfront Station’s incredible statue, the Angel of Victory, was “commissioned by the CPR to honour the 1100 employees that died during the war. The piece shows a soldier with an angel ascending up to Heaven. It’s truly a sight to see.”

Victory Square Archives: Armistice Day crowd at the Cenotaph, November 11, 1926. (AM1535-: CVA 99-1561, City of Vancouver Archives.)

Handford takes us to the Cenotaph in Victory Square, “Vancouver’s most attended Memorial Day service. The 30ft tall memorial is made of granite from British Columbia’s Nelson Island. In 1934, it was unveiled to 25,000 Vancouverites.”

Showing a small section of what life was like during World War One, Handford also provided photographs from the Vancouver Archives.