“Then came the momentous Armistice parade of 1923. A regimental memorial, of which Capt. E. W. Haldenby, M.C., was the designer, had been erected during the summer in Queen’s Park, being financed by members, ex members and friends of the Regiment. The beautiful granite column, standing in remembrance of the 61 officers and 1,406 non-commissioned officers and men of the 48thHighlanders who had given up their lives in the Great War, was unveiled by His Excellency, Lord Byng, Governor-General of Canada, before a tremendous throng. It was one of the most impressive ceremonies in their history; hundreds of Veterans who had worn the tartan stood bareheaded and still as the flag fell slowly back from the face of the column. The monument, standing at the head of Queen’s Park, looking up Avenue Road, was surrounded by the Regiment in uniform, by ex-members in mufti, and a proud and sorrowing host of relatives of men who had fallen while serving in the ranks of the Highlanders. Women sobbed in the waiting quiet, for the war was still bitterly fresh in memories, and the Last Post sounded in silver cadence with deep meaning. It was a moving service and when the Regiment at last swung quietly away, the base of the column was smothered under a mass of wreaths and poppies. On the four sides of the monument are replicas of the Regimental crest and on the face are the words:
DILEAS GU BRATH
To the glorious memory of those who died and to the undying honour of those who served—this is erected by their Regiment—the 48th Highlanders of Canada.”
Extract from “48th Highlanders of Canada 1891-1928” Kim Beattie
In 1962 the entire structure was lifted and moved to the east to allow for construction of the new University subway line that would run immediately below the site. When the subway was completed, the memorial was moved back to its original location.
During the summer of 2000, the memorial underwent minor repair work that saw the top re-capped to prevent the seepage of water into the interior and replacement of loose or missing mortar in several places.
However, time, the elements, the 1960 relocation process and the presence of the subway below the structure gradually took their toll on the structure. In 2014, Brigadier General (ret) Greg Young proposed a project that would see much needed restoration work done to the memorial. As Project Manager, it was necessary for him to obtain authorization for the project from The City of Toronto that owns the site and structure. The city approved the plan, assumed the lead with regard to contracted work and provided funding to support the project. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs provided a funding grant through its Community War Memorial Restoration Program and with the necessary funding place, work commenced in 2015 and was completed in time for 11 November the following year. The roof capping was replaced; all joints on the upper portion of the structure were re-mortared; a number of step sections on the platform base were replaced; the bordering garden beds were re-designed; the weathered dedication inscription on the front was darkened for better visibility; all the bronze cap badges were cleaned and recoated; and the Regiment’s newest Battle Honour – AFGHANISTAN – was added to the memorial.
Lastly, in 2018, The City of Toronto replaced the entire paved area surrounding the memorial with new paving stones.
November 11, 2023 the centenary of the memorial was celebrated. Click below to see this visual presentation that was produced for the Centenary. It is a visual history of the memorial that spans the time from its dedication in 1923 to the present.