Several monuments bear witness to the Canadian ordeal in Flanders. The St. Julien Canadian Memorial is by far the most impressive. Ten metres tall, it was erected in memory of Canadian losses in the Second Battle of Ypres.
The Sanctuary Wood Memorial (Hill 62) lies just to the east of Ypres. Hill 62 fell into German hands in 1916 until Canadian troops, despite huge losses, managed to take it back. The monument commemorates the many Canadians killed in that battle.
This monument was the first one to be erected in the region. It honours the memory of the 85th Canadian Nova Scotia Battalion which suffered heavy losses during the Third Battle of Ypres at the end of October 1917.
Newfoundland did not become part of Canada until 1949. During the First World War the dominion – separately from Canada – provided units for the British war effort. The Newfoundland Memorial at Kortrijk is one of six identical monuments on the Western Front. It stands at the place where the Newfoundlanders crossed the River Lys during the final offensive in October 1918.
In April 1915 a field dressing station was set up at Essex Farm, on the road between Ypres and Diksmuide. It was there that, moved by the suffering in and around the medical aid post, Canadian army doctor John McCrae wrote his world-famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.
Close to the Passchendaele Museum in Zonnebeke lies the Canadian Passchendaele Memorial Garden. The thousands of men who left for the front came from all over Canada. In the memorial garden, therefore, species of plant have been brought together from all the ecological regions of that vast country. As a unifying element, shards of Canadian slate lie in between the plantings. The monument is a block of granite of European origin and it represents the battlefield on which so many lost their lives. The rough edges and contours symbolize the hilly terrain, the muddy, hostile landscape the men had to deal with at Passchendaele. Five feathers have been carved into the polished front face of the block to commemorate the Indigenous Canadians who died, a symbol of courage and spirituality among Canada’s First Nations. The artwork is a creation of the Canadian artist Heather Carroll, who lives in Luxembourg. She is the daughter of an Inuit mother and a Scottish father.
No fewer than three monuments commemorate the experiences of the Canadian 15th Battalion (48th Highlanders). Two bronze memorial plates near Gravenstafel (Passchendaele) and St. Julien commemorate the gas attack and the Second Battle of Ypres (1915). Another memorial to the 15th Battalion stands close to Maple Copse Cemetery, on Observatory Ridge. It commemorates the men of the Canadian Highlanders who were killed in the Battle of Mount Sorrel in June 1916.
The Kitchener’s Wood Monument was erected in memory of the men of the 10th Battalion and the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) who were killed during the night-time attack at Kitchener's Wood of 22 to 23 April 1915. On a polished stone plinth stands a roughly worked stone representing the mangled oaks of the wood.
The Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Memorial on the ridge at Bellewaerde commemorates the men of the regiment who died during the Second Battle of Ypres. In early May 1915 the Canadian unit suffered heavy losses there. Mrs Hamilton Gault, widow of the regiment’s founder, erected an additional commemorative plaque to mark the regiment’s fiftieth anniversary.
The church in Zonnebeke is a five-minute walk from the Passchendaele Museum. On the right wall of the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk is a plaque commemorating the dead of D. 21 Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery. During the Battle of Passchendaele, the battery’s guns stood at the ruins of the church.