1928 – Cenotaph, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Architect: Gilbert Parfitt


Eventually designed by local architect Gilbert Parfitt to commemorate those killed during the First World War. The story about how Parfitt was selected was bizarre and indicative of people’s opinions about nationality in the years after the Great War.

The city created a Cenotaph Committee chaired by former Mayor R. D. Waugh and held a national design competition that received 48 proposals. The design by Toronto artist Emanuel Hahn was chosen. The choice was protested by several groups because Hahn was born in Germany, had come to Canada in 1892 at the age of eleven and was a naturalized Canadian.

On February 25, 1926, it was decided to hold a new competition and Hahn was paid the five hundred dollars premium despite the rejection. The new competition was only open to persons British-born or born in countries which were allies of Britain during the war. The winning design by Elizabeth Wyn-Wood of Toronto, who happened to be the wife of Emmanuel Hahn, was rejected by the citizens. She was also paid for her design and Gilbert Parfitt was chosen.

Parfitt’s design was a column of stone with a bronze sword, cross and small lion heads. Battles are incised on the sides of the stone shaft. Bronze plaques on either side state: “Erected in honour of our citizens who gave their lives in loyal and noble service in the World War 1914-1918. Their bodies are buried in peace but their names liveth for evermore.” and “They shall not grow old that we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.”

Construction began in December 1927 and the cenotaph was officially dedicated on November 7, 1928. Later rededicated to include those killed during the Second World War and the Korean War.

Published July 7, 2024