Ontario's government for the people is announcing the next steps toward building a memorial to honour Canadian veterans of the war in Afghanistan.
PFS Studio — a leading Canadian planning, urban design and landscape architecture firm — will design the memorial. PFS Studio also designed the Ontario Veterans' Memorial, which was unveiled in 2006 on the Legislative Assembly grounds.
"We are fulfilling our commitment to build a memorial to pay tribute to the Canadian Armed Forces personnel who served in the war in Afghanistan," said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. "Today's announcement of the design studio and consultation panel bring us one step closer to ensuring we honour the more than 40,000 men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line to protect our freedom."
To provide input on the design of the memorial, the government has also established a consultation panel that consists of members with a variety of backgrounds, including military veterans and those with a connection to the Canadian Armed Forces. The panel is chaired by General (Ret'd) Rick Hillier, who commanded a NATO mission in Afghanistan and was Chief of the Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces from 2005-2008.
"With design expertise from PFS Studio and important advice and input from the consultation panel, this memorial will be a permanent expression of Ontario's gratitude to this new generation of heroes, their families and their descendants," added Minister MacLeod.
The Memorial to Honour Canadian Heroes of the War in Afghanistan will complement the existing Ontario Veterans' Memorial to emphasize the importance of the war in Afghanistan in modern Canadian military history. While work is still ongoing, the government expects to unveil the memorial's design later this year following additional consultations with the panel.
"We believe this memorial will touch every veteran who served in Afghanistan," said General Hillier. "Each of them, and their families, will eventually visit and recognize the pride that Canadians have in what they accomplished, often at an enormous personal cost. We are proud of them, what they did, how they did it and appreciate the service and sacrifice for our great country. We want this memorial to reflect that pride."
- The war in Afghanistan was Canada’s largest deployment since the Second World War, involving more than 40,000 men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces.
- In total, 158 Canadian soldiers and 10 civilians were killed during the war in Afghanistan, and almost 2,000 were wounded.
- The Ontario Veterans' Memorial was unveiled in 2006. It is a 30-metre long granite wall engraved with scenes from Canada’s military history.