In collaboration with Canadian visual artist and novelist Douglas Coupland, PLANT Architect won a two-stage, national competition to both memorialize fallen firefighters and provide a place for their annual Ceremony Service on Ottawa’s Lebreton Flats. This memorial park is part of an urban planning memorial ensemble – a mise-en-scène of “characters” integrated into a “Canadian Landscape” and connected with the Canadian War Museum.
The design features a 2½ times life-size bronze Firefighter, a 20 m Firepole, a White Pine Tree Rock, and a Stone Memorial Wall. The Sloped Grove features sugar maple trees set amongst dense plantings of seasonally-changing shrubs and perennials that achieve full red vibrancy during the fall months, creating a thick red carpet. The granite Name Wall is an abstract interpretation of the Canadian map and its surface has been carved with the names of the Fallen. These two opposing landforms enclose and define the central ceremony area, leading the visitor along the Name Wall and through to the base of the Dedication Pine Tree. The CFF Memorial is deeply rooted in the nation’s political and physical foundation – illustrating the courageous efforts of Canada’s fallen heroes.
To fulfil the purposes of ceremony and procession, PLANT implemented key design elements that navigate visitors through the memorial space during ceremonial ritual, orchestrating a rhythm of remembrance. In order to create a place for personal reflection within this larger ritual space, a series of intimate places intended to foster introspection and meditation were developed.
For more information and ongoing activities at the Memorial, please visit the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation site. The CFFF has posted a “virtual tour” here.