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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cenotaphs Part 1

One thing I document as I travel around the city, or any city for that matter, are monuments and cenotaphs that mark memorials to past wars and fallen soldiers. I have seen many in the Toronto area and always seem to stumble across them no matter where I go. In fact I could probably point out where they are in any city that I have spent a few months in. Sometimes I find them quickly, sometimes a little longer. There's not much to say about them really. They range from the simple monument to grand works of art. In the following weeks I will be highlighting the ones I have seen.

First on the scene though is one I found in the University of Toronto downtown campus. I literally stumbled across it while I was searching the area for sculptures I knew were around. The memorial is called, appropiately, the "Soldiers Tower". It's a clock tower that stands above all the surrounding buildings. It seems out of place and I guess that's the point. It was constructed after "The Great War". It has a ground level entrance that goes from the street to the inner campus grounds. No doors to block it from entry, except steel posts with chains to block motor traffic. On the interior are inscribed all the names of the universities alumni that made the ultimate sacrafice.

The Soldiers TowerThe Soldiers TowerThe Soldiers Tower

Soldiers Tower Foundation StoneSt. MichaelGreat War Memorial

Standing in the middle of the tower and seeing two huge panels to either side of you inscribed with name after name of former teachers, professors, students, and who knows what other profession is rather humbling. I don't know how many names there were carved there. Just seeing them though and knowing, this was just from the university was something else altogether.

The Soldiers Tower: World War IIGreat War Memorial.The Soldiers TowerSoldiers Tower

The Soldiers Tower was built for The Great War, the war to end all wars. Unfortunately it wasn't. An addition was added to the south west of the tower along similar lines for the Second World War. It's just an alcove with panels similar to the ones in the tower. Standing there looking at it is very humbling. What can I say, things like this strike very close to home for me. I will probably explain more as we approach November 11th.

Great War MemorialSt. George Soldiers Tower: World War II
Names of the Fallen: The Great WarNames of the Fallen: The Great WarThe Soldiers Tower

This memorial has too be one of the most extensive I have seen. I have seen some cenotaphs from small towns that listed all the dead from all the wars. Usually a column about 10-15 feet high and the names on three sides. To see the listing of this many names struck home to me how small our towns are at times. As well it made a bit clearer of the lists of dead from battles. Where thousands died in a single day. I don't mean to be morose, or depressing. It's just the time of rememberance approaching, and I do wish to never forget.

Keep walking, always.


1 comment:

  1. Very nice photo essay Phil. Amazing clarity of inscriptions captured in the enlarged view (at Flickr acct). Thanks for sharing.