New Location For Military Cenotaph Up In The Air

Royal Canadian Legion Hall of Honour of the Canadian War Museum.
Royal Canadian Legion Hall of Honour of the Canadian War Museum.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 3 in Toronto, Canada, is facing a dilemma: where to move a 7.5 meter, solid granite cenotaph.

The branch is closing, just like a number of others in Canada due to shrinking membership, and with the land up for sale the monument that has adorned the front lawn of the Legion since 1983 must be relocated. The question of where must be decided.

Branch president Bill Bouchard said the cenotaph was donated by the community decades ago, but with the branch closing and amalgamating with another branch, they feel it should remain in the community.

Kevin McLean, a longtime Legion member who served in the Canadian Forces throughout the 1970’s, is in accord with the opinion that the monument has become an important part of the New Toronto community and should stay there.

It should not be allowed to die. It should not be put in a warehouse, closeted away in storage somewhere until a proper location can be found for it, he said.

Bouchard said not just any place is good enough.   It wouldn’t be suitable in front of a bar or restaurant. The cenotaph needs to be relocated where services can be held, and there’s ample room that allows people to gather around it.

And therein lays the problem: no one has successfully found a permanent, new home for the monument.

Bouchard has suggested three alternative sites: the lawn of the Toronto Police College located nearby, the LAMP community center, also close by, or the grounds of a new school near Royal York Road and Lake Shore Boulevard.

Member of the Provincial Parliament, Peter Milczyn, calling the cenotaph an important part of their local history, suggested that when a buyer of the property is determined, Toronto should attempt to extract some funding from them to finance the move of an important part of local heritage. He’s for moving the monument to the police college since the building is also a military facility housing the Toronto Scottish Regiment, CBC News reported.

Member of Parliament James Maloney said he’s been talking with Veterans Affairs Canada to determine if they’ll pay for the move since it has money available to communities to preserve military edifices.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE