Walking through Green Park in central London, between Piccadilly and the Mall – think Buckingham Palace – I discover an elegant, powerful yet somber memorial to Canadians and Newfoundlanders who fought alongside their British compatriots in the First and Second World Wars.
I’ve walked through Green Park many times over the years. For whatever reason I have not discovered this memorial before made of Canadian Shields granite, water and bronze maple leaves. It radiates a sense of calm underneath a canopy of horse chestnut trees.
The description of the memorial says:
”Designed by Canadian sculptor, Pierre Grenache and unveiled by Her Majesty The Queen in 1994, this memorial pays tribute to the nearly one million Canadian and Newfoundland men and women who came to the United Kingdom to serve during the First and Second World Wars. In particular it honours the more than 100,000 brave Canadians and Newfoundlanders who made the ultimate sacrifice for peace and freedom.
The monument, made of polished red granite from the Canadian Shield is inset with bronze maple leaves arranged in a windswept pattern. Set at an incline.”
A quick catch up on Canadian history explains why the description differentiates between Canadians and Newfoundlanders. Newfoundland joined the Canadian Federation in 1949, four years after the end of World War 11. As the description also states, the military forces going to join the two world wars left from the port of Halifax in Newfoundland.
The easiest way to find this monument which hugs the ground, is to locate the Canada Gate, which is marked on London maps showing Green Park. If you are facing Buckingham Palace, the Canada Gate is on your right towards Piccadilly. The monument is ahead.
I find this memorial very moving, particularly as we approach the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings, centred around the date of invasion, 6 June, known as D-Day.
Another opportunity to walk through Green Park presents itself when I stand in line outside Buckingham Palace to photograph the formal announcement of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s baby. Lots of young people are queuing, excited to be in London outside the gates of the Palace and connecting in some way to Prince Harry and Megan’s baby. On this particular day, it is a public holiday that day, so schools are out!
We take advantage of this time in London to catch up with some friends for lunch at one of the Côte Restaurants; known for good value and convenient locations. The one we eat at being near Trafalgar Square. Imagine our delight at discovering a Bergerac Region wine on their list! Needless to say this is what we order and all enjoy. It is a classic Bergerac white wine blend made from mainly Sauvignon Blanc with Semillon grapes. Both varieties well established in South West France. The refreshing acidity and citrus flavours makes this aromatic dry wine an excellent pairing with our fish entrée. Château Laulerie, part of the Vignobles Dubard operation started in 1977, is situated in the Montravel area of the Bergerac Wine Region. In London, this is competitively priced at an average price of £9 (15.37 C$ or 10.21 Euro).
One of the many things I enjoy about visiting London is the mix of culture, history, food, wine, and events. Always something to engage the spirit and imagination.
References: Chateau Laulerie, vignoblesdubard.com
Canada Memorial – Green Park – The Royal Parks www.royalparks.org.uk