Description of Historic Place
The Darlingford Memorial and Park, completed in 1921, consists of a small brick commemorative building set within a large landscaped site in Darlingford. The provincial designation applies to the one-storey building and its grounds.
The Darlingford Memorial and Park is a unique form of living remembrance in Manitoba, one that combines a lush public and ceremonial space with a more private, chapel-like building containing tablets with the names of Darlingford-area residents who served in World Wars I and II. The impressive Gothic-inspired brick structure, designed by A.A. Stoughton, the first head of the School of Architecture at the University of Manitoba, is the only free-standing building in the province with the sole function of commemorating war veterans and casualties. Its refined proportions, materials and details, and simple contemplative interior, are complemented by its peaceful, formally arranged environs of walkways, flower beds, lawns and trees, designed and originally maintained by staff from the nearby Dominion Experimental Farm at Morden. The memorial's development, initiated by a land donation from Ferris Bolton, a pioneer area farmer, businessman and politician who lost three sons in World War I, is still marked by an annual community service in July. Now tended by local volunteers, the site continues to serve its function admirably, as relevant today as it was at its inception.
Source: Manitoba Heritage Council Minutes, October 20, 1990
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Darlingford Memorial and Park site include:
- its corner location at Mountain Avenue and Bradburn Street on the western edge of Darlingford
- the use of hedges, trees and a front (south) metal fence to demarcate site boundaries
- the paved walkways, accessed through metal gates affixed to substantial masonry posts and gently curved around flower beds, grassed areas, plantings of shrubs and coniferous and deciduous trees, etc.
- the south-facing memorial building, centred near the rear of the site on slightly raised ground, with a flagpole to its southwest
Key exterior elements that define the Gothic Revival-style memorial building include:
- the compact, nearly square one-storey mass of brick construction on a limestone foundation with prominent buttresses at the corners
- the steeply pitched, forward-facing gable roof with flared eaves, exposed purlins and wood shingles
- the front elevation, including the round-arched entranceway, recessed heavy wood door with nail-head ornamentation and leaded glazing, large stone tablet inscribed with the word 'MEMORIAL' and in the peak, elaborated cross symbolism executed in brick
- the minimal fenestration limited to the door and, on each side wall, a small window of leaded glass
- the restrained materials, finishes and details, including the use of two shades of dark red brick (carried out using English bond) contrasted by light-coloured mortar and limestone accents, the brick soldier course that wraps around the building, the modest wood trim painted green and white, etc.
Key elements that define the building's interior character and memorial function include:
- the simple one-room plan, without seating and plainly finished by plaster walls and a truncated ceiling painted white, a concrete floor with red terra cotta tiles in a double rectangle pattern, etc.
- the elevated recess in the north wall containing a dark-stained oak pedestal surmounted by two large black marble tablets with the names of area war veterans in gold lettering