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Last Steps Memorial Arch

Hidden photo gallery

  • His Honour, Brigadier-General the Honourable J.J. Grant, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia unveiled the memorial on 26 August 2016.
    (Click for more images)
  • The Last Steps Memorial Arch - Completed
  • The artist, Nancy Keating speaks at the dedication.
  • The Commander of 5th Canadian Division, Brigadier-General Carl Turenne, The NS Minister of Immigration, Lena Diab. Project Co-Chairs, Major (ret) Ken Hynes and Ms. Corinne MacLellan

Municipality/Province: Halifax, NS

Memorial Number: 12004-218

Type: Arch

Address: 1675 Lower Water Street

Location: Maritime Museum of the Atlantic Pier

GPS Coordinates: Lat: 44.6479459044044   Long: -63.56956669140668

On Friday, August 26, 2016 at 11 a.m., the Last Steps Memorial Arch was unveiled on a pier behind the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. The Halifax waterfront is where thousands of Canadian men and women took their last steps as they embarked on ships to Europe during the First World War. There were around 350,000 Canadian men and women who boarded ships in Halifax to be taken overseas. About 60,000 never returned. Corinne MacLellan  teamed up with Ken Hynes, a retired army major, who is the volunteer curator at the Army Museum Halifax Citadel to develop the memorial. MacLellan and Hynes got advice or permission or funding from Halifax Waterfront Development, ACOA, Veterans Affairs Canada, the Halifax Foundation, the maritime museum, the city, Parks Canada and others. The artist Nancy Keating, who designed the memorial victory arch and a gangway, unveiled the conceptual drawing of the memorial on May 20, 2015.

Veterans Affairs Canada was a key member of the financial sponsorship team.

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Inscription found on memorial

The Last Steps Memorial Arch

Nova Scotia played a role in the conduct of the War which will redound to her glory for all time”

(Nova Scotia’s Part in the Great War - M. Stuart Hunt, 1920)

Near this spot, on 20 May 1915, soldiers of the 22nd Battalion (now the Royal 22nd Regiment - Quebec), the 24th Battalion (Victoria Rifles – Montreal), and the 25th Battalion (Nova Scotia Rifles) of the Canadian Expeditionary Force left Halifax aboard His Majesty’s Transport Ship Saxonia. For hundreds of them, this would be the last time that they stepped on Canadian soil. We can only imagine the thoughts they may have had as they boarded the ship and watched the Port of Halifax disappear from view behind them.

The 25th Battalion, Nova Scotia Rifles was the first complete infantry unit raised in this province to leave Nova Scotia and, on 12 October 1916, the 85th Battalion, Nova Scotia Highlanders also embarked for overseas service. These were the only two Nova Scotia infantry battalions that stayed together throughout the First World War and were not broken up for reinforcements. Over the course of the War, 350,000 Canadian troops sailed from this port to an uncertain future. Of that number, 67,000 died in Belgium and France. The lives of those who returned to Canada were changed forever. 30,000 Nova Scotians volunteered for military and naval service and 3,400 didn’t come home. The Army Museum Halifax Citadel commemorates their legacy of service and sacrifice. www.armymuseumhalifax.ca

WE REMEMBER THEM

There is also an acknowledgement panel that says:

This memorial was made possible through the dedicated partnership of many community organizations. The design for the arch was created by Halifax artist, Nancy Keating, whose Great Uncle, Major A.W.P. Keating, served in the 25th Battalion, Nova Scotia Rifles. The project was led by Governor Corinne MacLellan and Curator Ken Hynes of the Army Museum Halifax Citadel

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Note

This information is provided by contributors and Veterans Affairs Canada makes it available as a service to the public. Veterans Affairs Canada is not responsible for the accuracy, currency or reliability of the information.

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