Canada’s contributions to the Allied war effort during the First World War have often been credited with bringing to life a modern sense of Canadian identity. This is not a perception which has arisen since the war; it was shared by those who lived through it. Famously, Brigadier-General Alexander Ross, who commanded the 28th Battalion at Vimy Ridge, stated of the battle “it was Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific on parade. I thought then… that in those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation.” In light of this, it is unsurprising that the idea of a National War Memorial was quite popular in the aftermath of the war. Though numerically Canada’s losses (61,000 dead, 172,000 wounded) were significantly smaller than many of the other nations who participated in the war, as a percentage of the population Canada’s casualties were significant (around 2.8% killed and wounded, with 0.9% killed). Therefore, in 1925 an architectural competition was announced to secure a design for the proposed memorial. Under the circumstances the opposition (King’s Liberals were then in power) raised no objection save for one regarding the cost.
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