Kingston Council to vote on site for National Wall of Remembrance

An artist’s rendering of the National Wall of Remembrance at its proposed location, Macdonald Park in downtown Kingston. Image via National Wall of Remembrance Association.

At its meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, Kingston City Council will vote on a proposed site for the National Wall of Remembrance (NWOR), a joint project between the City of Kingston and the NWOR Association, a group based in Kingston and comprised of mostly retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces. At a meeting on July 9, 2019, Council directed staff to work with the association on a project to construct a National Wall of Remembrance in honour of Canada’s fallen veterans. A report being presented to Council on Tuesday night recommends the wall be placed at the eastern side of Macdonald Park, across from City Park on the shores of Lake Ontario.

The report notes that in 2019, the NWOR Association approached the City of Kingston regarding a “single place of remembrance for all of Canada’s fallen heroes.” Proponents of the project felt Kingston was a unique fit for the wall, due to its rich military history. “Kingston is the birthplace of much of our early armed forces as well the North-West Mounted Police, [and] Canadian Forces Base Kingston is the largest military base (in personnel, if you do not count CFB Halifax dockyard) in Canada and the largest employer in Kingston,” said the proposal submitted by the NWOR Association. 

“The city is also home to the Royal Military College, which was established in 1876. This combination of national and military history makes it an ideal location for the National Wall of Remembrance.” The wall is meant to “create a single community space where families, friends and visitors can gather to pay homage to the Canadian war dead.”

A map showing the proposed location of the National Wall of Remembrance at Macdonald Park. Image via National Wall of Remembrance Association.

The NWOR Association will be responsible for all costs associated with the project, including installation work. For its contribution to the project, the City of Kingston worked with representatives from the Association to find a suitable location for the monument, eventually agreeing on the eastern portion of Macdonald Park, just southeast of the Barrie Street/King Street East intersection. 

“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,” states the report. “Macdonald Park is also included in the Waterfront Master Plan… the proposal to site the National Wall of Remembrance within the park has been reviewed by staff from Engineering Services and the project will move forward in continued consultation with Engineering Services and other City Departments as required to ensure its success.“

Pending approval by Council, the monument will be installed in the existing green space between the parking lot and King Street East. The report adds, “City staff have confirmed that this area of the park is not designated for any specific purpose at this time other than general passive park use and that an installation in this location will not pose a significant functional or operational challenge.”

If the project receives Council approval, staff will then begin working with the Association to prepare the necessary legal agreements to govern the final project. In terms of timelines, the Association hopes to complete the necessary archaeological assessments in the first half of 2023. The report notes that the project will likely be completed by the end of 2024. At that time, possession of the monument will be transferred to the City of Kingston. 

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