Following a decision by Kingston City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, a National Wall of Remembrance will be constructed at Macdonald Park near downtown Kingston. The wall is a joint partnership between the City of Kingston and the National Wall of Remembrance (NWOR) Association, a Kingston-based group dedicated to honouring Canadian veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
At a meeting on July 9, 2019, City Council approved a motion to construct a National Wall of Remembrance, with the wall meant to “offer a quiet place of reflection and remembrance for all of Canada’s fallen heroes.” Since then, City staff have been working with the Association on a plan to implement the project, which included identifying a suitable location for the monument.
A report presented to Council ahead of Tuesday night’s meeting recommended the wall be housed at Macdonald Park in downtown Kingston. “Macdonald Park, which is included in the Old Sydenham Heritage Conservation District, is a site rich with both local and national history, especially pertaining to military uses and commemorations, making it an ideal location for the project,” the report stated.
In terms of the heritage implications of the monument, which will be constructed in the existing green space between the parking lot and King Street East, the report noted that Heritage Kingston did not express any concerns when it reviewed the proposal. “Additional input received from the committee in regard to the memorial’s design, thematic content, and details of the installation continue to be considered by the NWOR committee as their plans are finalized,” the report noted.
As an installation dedicated to honouring fallen veterans, the monument’s design will evoke a sense of “remembrance,” as it takes on the shape and colour of the poppy, a common symbol of remembrance in Canada. “Emphasizing the idea of Remembrance as a continual act, the centre of the poppy has a bright red band with the words, ‘Lest We Forget,’” noted the proposal report.
The National Wall of Remembrance is not meant to serve as a “war memorial,” nor does it replace existing memorials, such as the Cross of Sacrifice cenotaph or the Memorial Wall at the Veterans Memorial Garden. Instead, according to the initial motion in support of the project, the NWOR will “create a single community space where families, friends, and visitors can gather to pay homage to the Canadian war dead.”
Construction of the monument will be paid for exclusively by the NWOR Association, which, according to the staff report, “has raised significant funds in support of this project.” Once the project is finished, the wall will be transferred to the City of Kingston’s possession, at which point the Association will continue to provide financial support for the care and maintenance of the installation.
Now that the project has received additional approval from Council, City staff will begin working with the Association to draft the necessary legal agreements for the installation at Macdonald Park. Major next steps include the project’s archeological assessment, which is expected to be conducted during the first half of 2023. If all goes according to plan, the monument should be finished by the end of 2024, according to the City.