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Architectural Sculpture

Detail of niche no. 14

A number of different artists, modellers and sculptors were involved in creating architectural sculpture for the Memorial Chamber. The main contract for the decoration of the four walls of the chamber was awarded, however, to sculptor Ira Lake. Not satisfied with architect John A. Pearson's initial design scheme, Lake sought a more appropriate iconography for the room. He met with Colonel A. Fortescue Duguid, Director of the Historical Section of the National Defence, who suggested telling the complete story of Canada's participation in the Great War, and offered to provide the historical data. The sculptor and the historian submitted this elaborate project to Pearson who, when swayed by their enthusiasm, agreed to a change of design.

The sculpture program for the Memorial Chamber ultimately went even further, commemorating military units as far back as the seventeenth-century French Regime. The room's decoration features no less than 700 carved elements, including badges, coats of arms as well as narrative and low relief panels. Sculptor Ira Lake transposed all the final designs into Chateau-Gaillard stone: a type of chalked stone admirably suited to the level of fine detail this project required.

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