And No Birds Sang

Copyright 2016, Public Art of Toronto. All rights reserved.

Peace Through Valour, 2016
Located: Nathan Phillips Square
Artist: Ken Lum
Commissioned by: The Italian-Canadian community
Copyright 2016, Public Art of Toronto. All rights reserved.

In the week leading up to Remembrance Day on November the 11th, PATO will be featuring various memorials to Canada’s valiant war heroes.

I really like this piece. Ken Lum put a lot of thought into how best to convey the scale of the fighting and the resulting destruction. Oft times war memorials focus exclusively on the soldiers and rarely what’s left behind. It makes for a refreshing change.

Peace Through Valour is a stunning gift from a grateful community to our valued veterans. It is well worth a visit.

My only quibble is with the lack of promotion. I really feel that a bequest of this nature deserves some hoop-la. The city has no signage in place to direct people to Peace through Valour, or to any of the other sculptures in Nathan Phillips Square. If you view these installations it’s because you’re either already in the know or you have stumbled onto them. The problem with the Lum piece, in particular, is that it can be easily be overlooked by people who are focused on the Churchill statue.  In my experience, both times I was in the square to photograph the art, people only took notice of Peace through Valour when I was actively photographing it.

There’s something about a person with a camera that begs attention.

It’s a shame really because the Battle of Ortona was a major victory for the Allied forces and the Canadians, but it’s one that isn’t well remembered or commemorated.  It would really be nice if the city put a bit more effort in raising awareness of such a valuable piece of art. Peace through Valour definitely deserves the attention, as does the generosity of the Italian-Canadian community. But most of all, our veterans deserve all the accolades we can give them.

Find out more about Canada’s role in the Italien Theater. What inspired Ken Lum to create Peace Through Valour as he did.

And No Birds Sang is the title of Farley Mowat’s book describing his experiences in the Italian Theater during World War II.


Canada at War, The Battle of Ortona, (November 10, 2016),
The Toronto Sun, Monument honouring Canadians who fought in the Italian campaign unveiled, (November 10, 2016),
Urban Toronto, New Sculpture at Toronto City Hall Commemorates Canadian Soldiers in Italian Campaign, (November 10, 2016),
Wikipedia, The Battle of Ortona, (November 10, 2016),
Wikipedia, Ken Lum, (November 10, 2016),

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