Design Features of the Afghanistan War Memorial
The Memorial to Honour Canadian Heroes of the War in Afghanistan was designed to complement the existing Ontario Veterans' Memorial and create a seamless timeline of Canada's military history. The memorial's design features granite and bronze elements that tell the story of Canada's involvement in the Afghanistan conflict through imagery and symbolism.
Maple Leaf Pattern
A fallen maple leaf pattern inlaid within the pavement will connect the two memorials and represent a continuation of time. This pattern of bronze leaves will create a pathway from the existing memorial wall to the new memorial.
A granite bench on the west side will mark the beginning of the new memorial. It will give visitors a place to take a moment to remember and show gratitude to the 158 fallen members of the Canadian Armed Forces who did not return from Afghanistan.
When viewed from the south, the end of the existing memorial wall and the beginning of the new memorial will create a subtle frame. The view through this frame centres on imagery of Canadian operations in Afghanistan on the Ontario Veterans' Memorial. When viewed together, the tall bronze elements that create the view-frame are reminiscent of the twin towers before terrorists attacked the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001.
A continuous piece of bronze will bend and fold into seven vertical elements, representative of Canada's involvement in the conflict.
When viewed from the north of the memorial, the shape of the ribbon-like bronze will resemble the silhouette of Afghanistan's mountainous landscape.
The sharply angled folds of the memorial's form will mimic the deep, shadowed valleys and steep gullies that characterize Afghanistan's rough terrain. This landscape contributed to the daily challenges faced by Canadian troops throughout the conflict.
Images etched into the peaks of bronze will further tell the story of Canada's involvement in the conflict from October 2001 to March 2014. The rough, rocky landscape of Afghanistan will inspire the texture of the bronze and ground below.
A stone from an Inukshuk, which was dedicated to the fallen and erected by Canadian soldiers at Kandahar Airfield, will be incorporated into the existing granite bench. Visitors will be able to touch this stone and physically connect to its source, almost 11,000 km away.
Theme words will be used throughout the memorial — 18 in total — to give further meaning to Canada's involvement in Afghanistan. These words are: pride, friendship, solidarity, duty, resilience, dedication, courage, sacrifice, spirit, commitment, service, unity, camaraderie, home, family, compassion, hope and remembrance.