New War of 1812 monument unveiled on Parliament Hill
A Métis fighter firing a cannon is depicted in the new War of 1812 Monument that was officially unveiled on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014. (Emily Chan / CTVNews.ca)
Emily Chan, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, November 6, 2014 3:41PM EST
A new monument was unveiled on Parliament Hill Thursday, inspired by the War of 1812 more than 200 years after its last battle on Canadian soil.
The monument, designed by Toronto artist Adrienne Alison, is called "Trial through Diversity." It features seven bronze figures representing the people who fought for Canada during the war.
The figures include a Métis fighter, a Canadian militiaman, a member of the British Army and a woman bandaging a fighters’ arm. All of the characters stand in a circle, facing outwards.
The figures stand on top of a rough granite base, which is meant to symbolize the "ruggedness" of the land in the 1800s. There are also two granite pieces on either side of the monument shaped like pieces of a boat. These are meant to represent naval warfare during the War of 1812. One of the figures, a Royal Navy sailor pulls a rope attached to the boat’s base.
The texture and shape of the base are also meant to remind viewers of the rough cliff on which Parliament stands and the arches of the Parliament buildings.
The minister of Canadian heritage and official languages, Shelly Glover, unveiled the new monument Thursday morning to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Malcolm’s Mills.
"This new landmark on Parliament Hill will forever remind us of the courage and bravery of those who served and successfully defended their land in the fight for Canada more than 200 years ago," the minister said in a press release.
By lunchtime Thursday, the monument had drawn tourists and Ottawans on their lunch breaks to the Hill.
The monument "makes history come alive," Ottawa-based technical writer Don Douglas said. "It’s really well put together."
Janny Salis, a tourist from the Netherlands, said the statue is part of Canada’s internationally recognized war history. In the Netherlands, she said, Canada is widely known for its role in the Second World War.
"It made a big impression," Salis said of the monument. "We must every year remember the wars."
The War of 1812 began in June 1812, when Canada was not yet its own independent country. During that time, American forces invaded what is now Canada in their fight against Great Britain.
Militia from Upper and Lower Canada joined Metis, Aboriginal, and British forces to fight back the invasion. The war officially ended when the Treaty of Ghent was ratified in 1815.
The government’s commemorative website for the War of 1812 says Canada would not exist without the victories in the war. But the government was criticized in 2012 for dedicating $28 million for the campaign to commemorate the war featuring festivals, re-enactments of historic battles, and commemorative coins and stamps.