17 October 2006

Brits Who Built Bytown - Vernon March

Many of Ottawa's landmarks were constructed by or for people of British or Irish origin. In the lead up to Remembrance Day here is information for Ottawa's National War Memorial.

Vernon March was born in 1891 in Kingston Upon Hull, England, the youngest son of a large farming family. His 1925 statue of Samuel de Champlain in Orillia, Ontario, likely helped him win the commission, after an open competition, for the National War Memorial which was conceived and built in a garden in Farnborough, Kent, England. Vernon died in 1930 and his remaining six brothers, Dudley, Harry, Percival, Sidney, Walter, Edward and a sister, Elsie, shown on this extract from the 1891 census, finish his work. In 1932 the memorial was shown in London’s Hyde Park to wide acclaim. The Canadian government took delivery in June of 1937 and it was officially inaugurated by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1939.