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.

View of a family touching the wall. (photo: Linda Matta)
Finding a firefighter’s name
View along the memorial wall to the tree rock (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Looking along the memorial wall · Photo: Steven Evans Photography
Detail view of the memorial wall (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Detail view of the memorial wall · Photo: Steven Evans Photography
View of the Memorial Wall and Firefighter (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Approaching the main space from the north · Photo: Steven Evans Photography
View of the memorial wall (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
View of the memorial wall looking south · Photo: Steven Evans Photography
View from the sidewalk (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Native plantings on the back of the memorial wall · Photo: Steven Evans Photography
View looking south in the reflection garden (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
The Reflection Garden · Photo: Steven Evans Photography
View looking south (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Quieter spaces beyond the pine tree · Photo: Steven Evans Photography

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.

photo: Linda Matta
Crowds at the yearly ceremony
Aerial view of the opening ceremonies on 9 September 2012 (photo: Linda Matta)
Aerial view of the opening ceremonies on 9 September 2012
View of the memorial with downtown Ottawa behind (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
View of the memorial from across Wellington Street · Photo: Steven Evans Photography

project index

  1. A Conversation of Views
  2. Admiral Road Garden
  3. Airdrie Road Garden
  4. Airdrie Road Residence
  5. Albany Avenue Residence
  6. Alexandra Park
  7. Aporia Records
  8. Asphalt Poetry
  9. – Poem
  10. Baby Point Gardens
  11. Beach Garden
  12. Beach Village BIA Master Plan
  13. Beaty Residence
  14. Bennington Heights Garden
  15. Berkeley Street Residence
  16. Bin-Scarth Garden
  17. Blink and you miss it.
  18. – Poem
  19. Block 22 Landscape
  20. Bloor St. Apartment
  21. Blue Note
  22. Booth Avenue Residence
  23. Boustrophedon Garden
  24. Braemore Gardens Residence
  25. Browning Avenue Residence
  26. Brunswick Avenue Residence
  27. Camp Arowhon Offices
  28. Canadian Firefighters Memorial
  29. Channelled Buried Moved Lost
  30. Chocolate Loft
  31. City Instrument
  32. Clarendon Garden
  33. Conversation Piece
  34. Creemore Farm
  35. Danforth Mosaic BIA Master Plan
  36. Dickson Park Garden
  37. Dilworth Residence
  38. Don Landing Revitalization
  39. Dublin Grounds of Remembrance
  40. Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden
  41. Dupont-by-the-Castle BIA
  42. East Point Bird Sanctuary
  43. Eglinton Ave Forecourt
  44. Eglinton Park Master Plan
  45. Elizabeth Fry Society
  46. Ellsworth Residence
  47. Face to Face | Tête à Tête
  48. First Avenue Garden
  49. First Avenue Residence
  50. Flyover Canada
  51. Foote’s Pond Wood
  52. Forest Hill Village Streetscape
  53. Gaze, Glimpse, Glance
  54. Goldring Landscape, University of Toronto
  55. Gormley Garden
  56. Governor's Bridge Lookout
  57. Greener P
  58. Greer Road Garden
  59. Greer Road Residence
  60. Guelph Bridge
  61. Head in the Clouds
  62. Helena Ave Residence 4
  63. Junction Craft Brewery
  64. Kelpies Competition
  65. Kew Gardens Streetscape
  66. King's Landing Apartment
  67. Kipling & Islington Developments
  68. Le jardin du repos
  69. Lenticular Curtain
  70. Leslie Slip Lookout Park
  71. Liberty Village Parkettes
  72. Liza’s Garden
  73. Lynwood Garden
  74. Macroscape
  75. Markham Garden One
  76. Markham Street Residence Two
  77. Midtown Yonge Streetscape
  78. Mulock Park
  79. Nathan Phillips Square
  80. – Streetscape
  81. – Peace Garden
  82. – Podium Roof Garden
  83. Orchard View Garden
  84. Osgoode Atkinson Green Competition
  85. Owl Cottage
  86. Paperstone Scissors
  87. Peripheral Sitings
  88. Pottery Road Crossing
  89. rare
  90. Ravine Forecourt
  91. Ribbon of the Lower Don
  92. Riverside BIA Master Plan
  93. Roxborough Garden One
  94. Roxborough Garden Two
  95. Ryerson Centre for Urban Innovation
  96. Ryerson University Science Building
  97. Schulich School of Business
  98. Sheridan College
  99. – Trafalgar Campus Master Plan
  100. Spadina Quay Wetland
  101. St. Anne's Road Garden
  102. Stratford Market Square Competition
  103. Stratford Patterson Theatre Competition
  104. Superkids Dental
  105. Superlegible
  106. Sweet Farm
  107. Sweet Farm Pond House
  108. Swift Medical Offices
  109. The Meadows Reconsidered
  110. The Red Sash
  111. Thick & Thin
  112. Thistletown II Townhouses
  113. Tipping Point
  114. Tranby Garden
  115. Tree House Residence
  116. UBC Okanagan – The Commons
  117. UHN Tunnels
  118. University of Toronto Mississauga Welcome Centre
  119. Venice Biennale 2012
  120. Vermont Square Park
  121. Vernon Avenue Garden
  122. Walk the Walk
  123. Walmer Road Residence
  124. Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial
  125. Wellesley Cottages Garden
  126. Wells Street Residence
  127. Westminster Residence
  128. With Words as Their Actions
  129. Woodlawn Avenue Residence
  130. Woven Stories
  131. York Park