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Belgian War Memorial

Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/04/04

Primary view, from the west, of the Belgian War Memorial, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Primary View
Detail of the main figure of the Belgian War Memorial, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Detail of Main Figure
detail of the prone figure of the Belgian War Memorial, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Detail of Prone Figure

Other Name(s)

Belgian War Memorial
War Memorial
Monument aux morts

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/10/29

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Belgian War Memorial, a tall three-dimensional stone monument of a World War I soldier and his fallen comrade, unveiled in 1938, stands on the grassy median of a main thoroughfare in the community of St. Boniface, across from Winnipeg's Belgian Club. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the monument on its footprint.

Heritage Value

The Belgian War Memorial, a large, prominently situated stone sculpture, is an evocative and stunningly detailed representation of the anguish of life and death on the Great War battlefields of Europe. The arresting monument presents its message through two oversized figures, one an erect and stoic Belgian soldier in battledress, the other the prone body of a comrade whose faceless anonymity serves as a universal symbol of sacrifice. This starkly realistic wartime scene, commissioned by the Belgian Veterans' Association, is the work of renowned St. Boniface sculptor Hubert A. Garnier whose reliefs, monuments, architectural ornamentation and official emblems are found across Canada and the United States. Befitting its purpose, the memorial occupies a highly visible location on a busy Winnipeg streetscape near the historic Belgian Club, a vibrant and long-standing patriotic organization. Intended as a World War I monument, the site has since evolved to recognize succeeding international conflicts.

Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Planning and Community Services Minutes, April 4, 1995

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Belgian War Memorial site include:
- the location on a widened and landscaped section of the Provencher Boulevard median, in a small St. Boniface park named in honour of King Albert the First of Belgium and almost directly across from the home of the Belgian Veterans' Association (Royal Canadian Legion) in the City of Winnipeg's designated Belgian Club

Key elements that define the monument's evocative representational design, sculptural execution and memorial function include:
- the base, about 1.5 metres high, of fieldstone boulders randomly piled in cement
- the two oversized military figures carved out of white Haddington Island sandstone in three dimensions
- the exceptional sculpted detail, including the posture and facial expression of the erect soldier (who stands approximately 2.4 metres high) and the clothing, badges, boots, weaponry, equipment, etc., of both men
- the stylized cross embedded on the upper west side of the base
- the scrolls and plaques incorporated into the base and inscribed as follows: on the west side, 'Belgium 1914 1918, 1939 1945, In remembrance of the fallen soldiers and comrades who valiantly served in both World Wars, H. Garnier, sculptor'; on the north, 'Belgie 1914-1918'; on the east, 'Hubert A. Garnier 1938'; and on the south, 'Belgique 1914-1918 1939-1945 1950-1953'

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Manitoba

Recognition Authority

City of Winnipeg

Recognition Statute

City of Winnipeg Act

Recognition Type

Winnipeg Landmark Heritage Structure

Recognition Date

1995/04/04

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1938/01/01 to 1938/12/31

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Community Organizations
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Community
Commemorative Monument

Historic

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

Hubert A. Garnier

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

W0163

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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