Victoria Cross Memorial

As part of the Canada 150 celebrations, York Cemetery was the scene of a unique celebration on Sunday, June 25, 2017, as politicians, veterans, military personnel and general public gathered to dedicate the only memorial in Canada to honour all 99 of Canada’s Victoria Cross recipients in one location. The stunning memorial, when viewed from above, resembles a stylized Maple leaf. The ceremony included the official opening of the grand allée pedestrian boulevard, which runs through the cemetery from Beecroft Road

   Participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony were Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong; Markus O’Brien Fehr, executive assistant of Willowdale Councillor John Fillion; Jeff Dennis, Director of Development for Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries and the architect who designed the memorial; and Nelson Boaventura, Family Service Manager at York Cemetery. Also in attendance were both serving and veteran members of the Governor General’s Horse Guards (including two on horseback), and members of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 66.

   The Victoria Cross was instituted in 1856, by Queen Victoria. It is given to honour “most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.” 1,358 Victoria Crosses have been awarded in total since then, to 1,355 men. Awarding of the Victoria Cross was suspended in Canada in 1972, but on February 2, 1993, Queen Elizabeth II approved the creation of a Canadian VC. It resembles the original award except that the Latin inscription Pro Valore has replaced the equivalent English inscription “For Valour.” No Canadian Victoria Crosses have been awarded.