Canada Will Remember

By: Erika Lavers, SNN Reporter
Roncalli Central High
Port Saunders, NF

There were two different projects under this service. Both are funded through Industry Canada's Digital Collections Program, and both are administered by STEM-Net.

The first of the two projects was the War Monuments Project. It is intended to preserve, in digital format, the history surrounding the thousands of war monuments across Canada and to make it public via the internet. This project has been in existence since 1997, the goal is to have 2000 monuments listed on the site by November 2000, there are currently 600 listed.

View a clip of Harry O'Reilly, Co-ordinator of Canadian Virtual War Memorial, speacking of the project.

Paula Shapleigh, who is project coordinator obtained her information from Royal Canadian Legions, Canadian Municipalities and the General Public. She contacted 1,407 Royal Canadian Legions, plus the 10 Legion Commands.

The information she requested was: – A good picture of the monument – location – construction date – whom it commemorates and any other optional information. Any of the information sent in can be returned upon request.

This site has many pictures of the monuments accompanied by the history of the monument. Pictures of volunteers constructing the monuments are also included in the website. The website will accept all war monuments that commemorates war efforts in any of the wars. The monuments can commemorate any Country's casualties as long as the memorial is in Canada. One such monument is the monument commemorating the people who died in the crash of the American plane The Arrow Air. There are also pictures of a couple of unique indoor war monuments.

The second of the two projects was the Canadian Virtual War Memorial: Beyond A Name and A Number. The project is called Beyond A Name and A Number because the site does exactly that - the Newfoundland Book of Remembrance lists the name of the soldier, their rank and their number assigned to them for the war. The website takes all of these names and numbers and tries to locate pictures and other memorabilia such as war medals they acquired and extra information such as family, age of death, date of death, and where they fought. The soldier has to be deceased in order to be listed at this site with this information.

The goal of this project is to find as many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who died in WWI and WWII. There was a total of 116,000 Canadians killed in these wars, 2,300 of them Newfoundlander's. Of these 2300 casualties, information has been found for about 230-240 people and posted on the site.

Of all the information they have collected for this site, only 2 things have been sent through the mail, obviously not many people want to let go of their families memories. Most people will deliver the photos and information through personal delivery, and they will wait until it is put back into their hands.

The project was initially set to be a pilot project for four months but the project was going so well and it was such a great site that they decided to keep the site up. The site has gained popularity over the extra time that the site has been up.

There are six books of remembrance that are guarded every day for 24 hours a day. A person turns the page of the books at 11:00 a.m every day.

This year they plan to go on the road and take their scanning equipment along with them and lessen the hassle of acquiring the memorabilia from those who are not so willing to share their memories. They also repair damaged photos for the site and usually give them a repaired copy of the photo when returning the original to the owner or contributor.

The archives contain pictures of deceased soldiers found since February. They have the picture of the only Eskimo in Newfoundland that fought in WWI.

This website is great because it gives anyone access to pictures of loved ones and friends of the war. It also provides a great research base for people searching for deceased soldiers and to provide information on deceased soldiers of their own families. The War Monuments Project is also a great site. It can help you locate where your friends and family members may be commemorated, to a certain extent. It can also bring out awareness of the fact that many thousands died for our freedom and we owe them so much.

Both sites can be found on the STEM-net web site at and clicking on the links for the War Monuments Project or The Canadian Virtual War Memorial. The war Monuments Project is looking for monuments across Canada as was mentioned before, visit their site and see if you know of any more monuments that they don't have. Then send in the requested information and help them reach their goal of 2000 monuments by November, 2000. The Canadian Virtual War Memorial is looking for information on any deceased Newfoundlander or Labradorian who died in a world war. If you have any information on a soldier of this criteria let them know and they'll help get the picture online.