Canadian Memorial Church

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  • church
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  • All-Canada Window
  • The Airman
  • The Sailor

Municipality/Province: Vancouver, BC

Memorial Number: 59026-016

Type: Church with stained glass windows

Address: 15th Avenue at Burrard Street

Location: Canadian Memorial Church

GPS Coordinates: Lat: 49.25782   Long: -123.14636

Contributor: Terry Tobin; Robert D. Watt

"Dedicated in 1928 to the glory of God and for the cause of world peace in memory of the sons and daughters killed in World War 1 and later, to include those sons and daughters whose lives were cut short in World War II."

Canadian Memorial Church, located in Vancouver, British Columbia, is unique, not just for its pure Gothic style, not just for the extraordinary manner in which funds were raised throughout Canada for its construction, but also for its portrayal of Canadian unity and its Christian symbolism. This church in no way glorifies war but is, above all, a peace memorial.

While serving as a padre in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War, Rev. (Lt.-Col.) G.O. Fallis, C.B.E., E.D., D.D., conceived the idea of erecting a Chapel and Community Centre as a Memorial to the gallant Canadians who made the supreme sacrifice. He arrived in Vancouver in May 1920, to serve a congregation already imbued with the same idea and plans were quickly laid.

The first project, the Memorial Hall, was completed in February 1923. The second project, The Memorial Chapel, was dedicated November 9, 1928.

The Chapel specifications called for ten stained glass windows, one for each province and the Yukon Territory, as well as a Chancel window and an All-Canada window. Each window would contain a religious motif with the Provincial coat-of-arms directly underneath, flanked on either side by historical events of the Province concerned.

The striking part of the story is the unique manner in which funds were raised to cover the cost of these windows. The goal was to involve Canadians from coast to coast with the idea of making this a truly national church.

Col. Fallis first went to Victoria to interview the Lieutenant-Governor and other provincial leaders. Being successful there, it was decided he would go next to Prince Edward Island. In the dead of winter, he arrived in Charlottetown. The following day, he preached to a large congregation. That night he spoke over the radio, and soon had an interview with the Lieutenant Governor. By Wednesday, Col Fallis was on the boat to the mainland with enough money to pay for the Prince Edward Island window.

Perhaps the most fascinating story of all involved the contribution made by a world famous contralto, Madame Schumann-Heink. During a farewell tour, the church treasurer read about her appearance in Seattle. He immediately telephoned Col. Fallis to say, "You're going to Seattle on the midnight train to enlist the services of Madame Schumann-Heink for a memorial concert here." Within the hour he was on a train and, typical of his powers of persuasion, the noted singer came to Vancouver. It was a great event; 5,200 people packed the Arena. They gave her a standing ovation and the entire proceeds went to the building fund.

The Chancel Window

Erected by Mrs. C.W. Rogers whose late husband brought loving service to Canadian service personnel in the First World War, this window contains two motifs, sacrifice and young manhood. The central figure is Christ on the cross with a grapevine in the background, both being symbols of sacrifice. On the immediate left is the figure of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and on the right is the disciple John. On the extreme left with a sling in his hand is David, the shepherd lad, and on the extreme right, Timothy in full armour, symbolic of the armour of God. The bottom panels depict Samuel being anointed by Eli, and Stephen, the first Christian martyr, being crowned. Between these two panels is the Last Supper.

The All-Canada Window

Over the main entrance to the church this window bears the inscription, "This window is erected in honour of all men and women of Canada who endured service in The World War." The central figure is Miss Canada, depicted as an angelic visitor, holding in her left hand the symbol of peace and in her right hand the laurel wreath, committed to the ideal that "right not might shall rule the world." The historical events are the death of Wolfe on the Plans of Abraham in 1759, the coming of Jacques Cartier, the return of the United Empire Loyalists, the founding of Fort Garry (Winnipeg), and the driving of the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway at Craiglachie, B.C.


Situated on the corner of West 15th Avenue & Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Add or Update Memorial Information

Inscription found on memorial

[All-Canada Window - over the main entrance to the church/vitrail pancanadien – au-dessus de l’entrée principale de l’église]
This window is erected in honour of all men and women of Canada who endured service in the World War

[The Sailor/Le Marin]

[The Airman/L’Aviateur]

[The Sailor and The Airman inscription must be combined./Les inscriptions concernant Le Marin et L’Aviateur doivent être combinées.]

[The Soldier/Le Soldat]

[The Nurse/L’Infirmière]


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