Glossary of memorials terms

Glossary of terms used by the National Inventory of Canadian Military Memorials Program.

Address
The street or road address of the memorial, for example, 24 Main Street.
Arch
A curved structure usually used as an opening or a support for a bridge, doorway, etc. In the case of memorials, an arch is usually used as an entrance to a park, a garden or a memorial site.
Background
A brief paragraph providing available details on the memorial’s erection, unveiling, dedication, location and imagery found on the memorial.
Bust
A sculpture of a person’s head, shoulders and chest.
Cairn
A pile stones or bricks, usually cemented together, roughly in the shape of a pyramid.
Cenotaph
An overarching term which includes all memorials which remember those who have died (their bodies), but who are not entombed within the memorial. This covers many of Canada’s military memorials and is not used to define any particular memorial under the category of “type.”
Columns
See “pillars.”
Cross
Often depicted as a Cross of Sacrifice based on the design of British memorial makers in the 1920s and 1930s.
Diorama
A small-scale reproduction of a scene containing three-dimensional objects.
Display
An exhibition of various memorial items, such as medals, photographs, etc.
Headstone
A typical headstone as found in a cemetery. Looks like a stele, but is smaller and usually found in a cemetery or grave site.
Inscription
The inscription as it appears on the memorial. Please note that these memorials are historical artifacts and the text appears here only in the language found on the memorial, normally English or French (but sometimes Gaelic or a First Nations’ language).
Location
Used to help locate the memorial, this point is the general direction or context of the memorial found within a specific location, for example, across from the post office or North side/wall.
Memorial
An object erected in memory of one or more individuals. In this project, the memorials included pertain to military remembrances of all nationalities and periods within Canadian borders.
Memorial number
The number assigned to the memorial by the project administrators.
Monument
Used in this project to define any memorial incorporating more than one of the single types of memorials listed here, such as items joined together, like a statue and a stone shaft or separate pieces still forming a single memorial, such as a cairn and a weapon.
Municipality
The village, town, city or other type of municipality where the memorial is located.
Mural
A painting made on a wall, often outside and usually a large image.
Obelisk
A tall, tapering shaft, usually made of stone or cement.
Perpetual flame
An actual flame kept burning in remembrance of fallen military members.
Photo credit
The photographer of the images of a memorial in this project.
Pillars
Slender, vertical columns usually made of stone or concrete.
Plaque
An ornamental tablet usually fastened to a wall or a memorial but, occasionally, on their own. In memorials they are usually made of metal.
Province
The province in which the memorial is located.
Pyramid
See “cairn.”
Sarcophagus
An elaborately decorated coffin, usually made of cement or stone (if placed outdoors), (Example Tomb of the Unknown Soldier).
Sculpture
Items or forms created from various types of material, including stone and metal (Example, see the accompaniment to the cross).
Shaft (or stone shaft)
A square column of stone or cement, often topped by a statue or other item.
Slab (or stone slab)
A piece or “chunk” or stone, usually ragged in appearance except for one side upon which a plaque or an inscription appears.
Statue
The depiction of a person or animal, usually done in stone or metal.
Stele (plural stelia)
An upright slab of stone in the shape of a headstone, only larger, and not square like a shaft.
Surveyor
The name of the individual who submitted the information about this memorial.
Type

The type of memorial, based on loose categories, defined as: arch, bust, cairn, cenotaph, cross, columns, diorama, display, headstone, memorial, monument, mural, obelisk, perpetual flame, pillars, plaque, pyramid, sarcophagus, sculpture, shaft (or stone shaft), slab (or stone slab), statue, stele (plural, stelia), wall, weapon.

Numerous other types of memorials (or components of monuments) are more apparent in their description and include such items as aircraft, anchors, antennae, bridges, buildings, certificates, flagpoles, fountains, gardens, helmets, lances, parks, pictures, rifles, street names and wall hangings.

Wall
A wall, usually made of wood, cement, stone or metal. Sometimes it is hung on a normal wall as a hanging memorial.
Weapon
Various types of military weaponry, including cannons, guns, tanks and armoured and non-armoured vehicles.
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