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.

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 Residence
  4. Albany Avenue Residence
  5. Aporia Records
  6. Asphalt Poetry
  7. – Poem
  8. Baby Point Gardens
  9. Beach Village BIA Master Plan
  10. Beaty Residence
  11. Bennington Heights Garden
  12. Berkeley Street Residence
  13. Bin-Scarth Garden
  14. Blink and you miss it.
  15. – Poem
  16. Blue Note
  17. Booth Avenue Residence
  18. Boustrophedon Garden
  19. Braemore Gardens Residence
  20. Browning Avenue Residence
  21. Brunswick Avenue Residence
  22. Camp Arowhon Offices
  23. Canadian Firefighters Memorial
  24. Channelled Buried Moved Lost
  25. Chocolate Loft
  26. City Instrument
  27. Clarendon Garden
  28. Conversation Piece
  29. Creemore Farm
  30. Danforth Mosaic BIA Master Plan
  31. Dickson Park Garden
  32. Dilworth Residence
  33. Don Landing Revitalization
  34. Dublin Grounds of Remembrance
  35. Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden
  36. Dupont-by-the-Castle BIA
  37. East Point Bird Sanctuary
  38. Elizabeth Fry Society
  39. Ellsworth Residence
  40. Face to Face | Tête à Tête
  41. First Avenue Garden
  42. Foote’s Pond Wood
  43. Forest Hill Village Streetscape
  44. Gaze, Glimpse, Glance
  45. Goldring Landscape
  46. Gormley Garden
  47. Greener P
  48. Greer Road Garden
  49. Greer Road Residence
  50. Guelph Bridge
  51. Head in the Clouds
  52. Junction Craft Brewery
  53. Kelpies Competition
  54. Kew Gardens Streetscape
  55. Le jardin du repos
  56. Lenticular Curtain
  57. Liza’s Garden
  58. Lynwood Garden
  59. Macroscape
  60. Markham Garden One
  61. Markham Street Residence Two
  62. Midtown Yonge Streetscape
  63. Nathan Phillips Square
  64. – Streetscape
  65. – Peace Garden
  66. – Podium Roof Garden
  67. Orchard View Garden
  68. Osgoode Atkinson Green Competition
  69. Owl Cottage
  70. Paperstone Scissors
  71. Peripheral Sitings
  72. Pottery Road Crossing
  73. rare
  74. Ravine Forecourt
  75. Ribbon of the Lower Don
  76. Riverside BIA Master Plan
  77. Roxborough Garden One
  78. Roxborough Garden Two
  79. Sheridan College
  80. – Trafalgar Campus Master Plan
  81. Spadina Quay Wetland
  82. Stratford Market Square Competition
  83. Stratford Patterson Theatre Competition
  84. Superlegible
  85. Sweet Farm
  86. Sweet Farm Pond House
  87. The Meadows Reconsidered
  88. The Red Sash
  89. Thick & Thin
  90. Tipping Point
  91. Tranby Garden
  92. Tree House Residence
  93. UTM Welcome Landscape
  94. Venice Biennale 2012
  95. Vermont Square Park
  96. Vernon Avenue Garden
  97. Walmer Road Residence
  98. Wellesley Cottages Garden
  99. Wells Street Residence
  100. Westminster Residence
  101. With Words as Their Actions
  102. Woodlawn Avenue Residence
  103. Woven Stories
  104. York Park