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Canada Five war memorials paying respect to Canada’s fallen soldiers

Memorial Clock Tower in Wainwright, Alberta

Clock Tower, Wainwright, Alta.

Symbolic cenotaphs have their place, but the citizens of Wainwright wanted to honour the 34 men who died in the Great War with a memorial that was useful as well as dignified, an hourly reminder of sacrifice that could also symbolize the co-operative spirit of the Prairie town. And so, under the leadership of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire, funds were raised to build an Alberta-style clock tower made from stones gathered in the fields by local farmers – schoolchildren did their bit by hauling rocks in their wagons. The eye-catching "Roman tower" was erected on the town's main street in 1925, and its solidity allowed it to survive a devastating fire in 1929. The free-standing timepiece is unusual among Canadian memorials, but it has an elegant counterpart in the Old Port of Montreal – the Tour de l'Horloge, a climbable tourist attraction rarely recognized as a tribute to Canadian sailors lost at sea.

Vimy Memorial Bandstand, Saskatoon

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A classical bandstand by the side of the green and leafy South Saskatchewan River is about as far from a cratered battlefield as you can get – and maybe that was the idea when Saskatoon's memorial to those who fought at Vimy Ridge was finally inaugurated in 1937, a year after the more imposing Canadian National Vimy Memorial was dedicated in France. There's less music now at the Saskatoon site, brass band or otherwise, and more hanging out at an open-air belvedere that looks exactly like the architectural representation of a well-earned peace. This Vimy Memorial has become the venue of choice when young couples embrace for wedding photographs and zombie walks assemble in the shadow of the château-like Bessborough Hotel. But as a welcoming monument with a lasting sense of civic attachment, it's also the preferred setting for Idle No More gatherings, candlelight vigils for missing women and support-our-troops rallies.

Women's Tribute Memorial Lodge, Winnipeg

This stylish, understated art-deco building with its calming views of the Assiniboine River is now a movement-disorders clinic attached to an award-winning copper-clad modern addition. Only the wreath-enclosed numbers on the façade, 1914 and 1918, hint at its origin as a tribute by the women of Manitoba to compatriots who served in the First World War. The Memorial Lodge was designed as a recreation centre for veterans, particularly those who were disabled and damaged by war and needed a place to recoup that didn't involve drink and despair. While somewhat solemn and purposeful on the exterior, the sunny yellow-brick lodge incorporated billiard tables and a high-ceiling theatre (where Patrick Swayze filmed a scene for the 2003 release One Last Dance) as well as Manitoba's oldest-known wheelchair accessibility ramp and a thought-gathering Memorial Room of Silence.

Molson Stadium, Montreal

The home of the Montreal Alouettes and the McGill Redmen, compactly squeezed into the campus landscape between the Montreal Neurological Institute and the tree-clad slopes of Mount Royal, has a longer name that shifts the building's identity from beer brand back to supreme sacrifice. The Percival Molson Memorial Stadium honours the legacy of a heroic soldier and a remarkable member of the Montreal brewing clan. After playing on a Stanley Cup championship team as a teenager, setting a world record in the long jump and graduating from McGill in 1901, Percival Molson served on the university's board and helped set in motion the construction of a new stadium. When war broke out, he joined the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry regiment, earning the Military Cross in Flanders before being killed near Vimy in 1917. In his will, he left $75,000 for the completion of the stadium that took his name in 1919.

Canada Memorial, London, England

Rather than prescribe a response, many modern memorials aim to be interactive – and are barely recognizable as artifacts of military memory. The emotions a cenotaph could count on immediately after the Great War aren't readily available in an era that has a more remote relationship with armed conflict and death. So when Montreal sculptor Pierre Granche created this 1994 memorial honouring Canada's part in Britain's war efforts, he devised an inviting passageway between red granite slopes coated with bronze maple leaves and moistened by a flow of water. This participatory artwork, with its subtle messaging and awkward hydraulics, has experienced numerous growing pains (particularly when lead patron Conrad Black suffered financial reversals). But it still served beautifully as the venue for a concert by a National Arts Centre Orchestra quartet three days after Corporal Nathan Cirillo was killed at Ottawa's National War Memorial.

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