“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
North Bay in Nipissing District, Ontario — Central Canada

Memorial Park Cenotaph Statue

— North Bay Heritage Site —

Memorial Park Cenotaph Statue Marker image. Click for full size.
cmh2315fl via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0), August 8, 2017
1. Memorial Park Cenotaph Statue Marker
Inscription.  This city block bounded by Fraser, First, Ferguson and Second became the site of the North Bay Normal School, which opened in 1909 and still stands on the corner of First & Fraser. In 1917, the province deeded the remainder of the tract for use as a Memorial Park to commemorate those who gave their lives in WWI.

Almost 2400 local folk served in the “Great War” and an actual physical “war memorial” was originally proposed for Terrace Lawn Cemetery. However in June 1922, the Normal School park was chosen as the site. The Agriculture and Parks Committee of Council, with input from local schoolchildren and well-known sculptor Harold French (who helped plan the Vimy Memorial), came up with the design for the actual physical memorial. In order to raise the better than $15,000 cost, a public subscription was organized helped by grants from the town council. The Ladies Auxiliary of the Great War Veteran's Association staged a house-to-house canvass and a Soldiers Memorial Committee was formed, which was able to profit from circus license fees, other charges and fines from the town.

The 2000-pund monument itself was crafted by Canadian
Memorial Park Cenotaph and Statue image. Click for full size.
cmh2315fl via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0), August 8, 2017
2. Memorial Park Cenotaph and Statue
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sculptor C.D. McKenzie of Toronto. The largest monument cast in bronze in Canada at the time, it measures 26'6" from base to statue top with the statue of a Canadian soldier with bared bowed head, measuring 8'6" in height, standing on some 60 tonnes of granite. The soldier is everyman, the universal soldier with no rank or unit identification; his right hand holds a laurel wreath and rests on a cemetery marker and his left hand holds his helmet over his heart. The base holds a North Bay dedication and is engraved with the names of important WWI battles. The contractors were Andrew Craig of North Bay and McIntosh Granite of Toronto.

September 17th 1922 saw the official unveiling of the monument in a well-attended ceremony, which involved Provincial Lieutenant-Governor Henry Cockshutt, North Bay Mayor John Ferguson, other local dignitaries, a Guard of Honour, a band, various military officers and other ranks as well as cadets, scouts and club representatives. November that same year, the first official Armistice Day ceremony took place at the cenotaph. In 1923, through a series of agreements between the municipal and provincial governments, Memorial Park was created and officially named at the November ceremony that year, which drew an overflow response of some 4,000 citizens including some 100 veterans and the Salvation Army Band.

In 1925, North Bay officially
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became a city and a mammoth Old Home Week festical took place, which saw Memorial Park the scene of many celebrations and gatherings

Branch 23 of the Royal Canadian Legion was granted its official charter in 1926 and had its offices in First Avenue, opposite the Normal School. In 1987, a new Legion Hall was opened right beside the Normal School, only a few yards from the cenotaph itself.

In 1975, the Legion installed an Honour wall for veterans of the two World Wars, designed by former soldier and City Recreation Director Sam Jacks.

In the mid 1990's, a group of war veterans formed an organization named Project Flanders to commemorate all who served their country. Project Flanders would raise over $700,000 to construct the Wall of Honour. Made up of 14 seven-foot high granite walls, each weighing up to 6 tons apiece, the Wall of Honour is the largest municipal war memorial in Canada. The Wall of Honour recognizes each of the seven wars and UN/NATO missions of the 20th century, including World Wars One and Two, as well as the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

The bilingual Wall contains the names of 636 war dead of the 8850 area personnel who served in the Canadian Forces. At the rear of the 95 foot wide wall are over 700 commemorative stones recognizing veterans who survived the wars.

(Top) Courtesy
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of McMahon/Legion Branch 23

((Bottom, left) Courtesy of McMahon/Legion Branch 23
(Bottom, right) 1923 official cenotaph unveiling Courtesy of Bain/De La Vergne
Erected by Municipal Heritage Committee.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicMilitaryParks & Recreational Areas. A significant historical year for this entry is 1909.
Location. 46° 18.744′ N, 79° 27.647′ W. Marker is in North Bay, Ontario, in Nipissing District. Marker is on 1st Avenue West north of Ferguson Street, on the right when traveling north. Marker is next to flagpole in front of cenotaph. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: North Bay ON P1B 3B9, Canada. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. North Bay Normal School (about 90 meters away, measured in a direct line); The Barry Building Explosion (about 210 meters away); Old Town Hall (approx. 0.2 kilometers away); Reverend Silas Huntington (approx. 0.3 kilometers away); Cormack Block (approx. 0.3 kilometers away); The Capitol Theatre (approx. 0.4 kilometers away); Carnegie Library (approx. 0.4 kilometers away); Old Post Office (approx. 0.4 kilometers away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in North Bay.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 20, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 20, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 83 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 20, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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Apr. 2, 2023