In the week leading up to Remembrance Day on November the 11th, PATO will be featuring various memorials to Canada’s valiant war heroes.
In 1909, Canadian Senator James Mason commissioned Walter Seymour Allward to create a memorial that would commemorate Canada’s participation in the Boer War.
Allward was a local artist, apprenticed at the architectural firm Gibson and Simpson before modeling architectural ornaments at the Don Valley Brickworks. He supplemented his training by taking courses at the New Technical School, where he studied under William Cruikshank. By the time he was commissioned, Allward had already created some notable works, including the Sculpture of John Graves Simcoe and John Sandfield Macdonald at Queen’s Park. Allward would go on to have a highly regarded career, culminating in the creation of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial which was unveiled in 1936.
For the Boer memorial, Allward chose to create three bronze figures standing at the base of a granite column. The column engraved with the names of the major battles where Canadian forces participated, and is crowned by a fourth figure. The main figure at the base represents Mother Britain who is flanked by two Canadian soldiers in relaxed poses, but alert and ready to protect her should the need arise. At the top of the column stands Winged Victory holding a golden crown.
The title for this article comes from George Orwell’s quote: “Before the war, and especially before the Boer War, it was summer all the year round.”
What exactly was the Boer War? Find out in Part One.