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. Cortleigh Boulevard Garden
  35. Creemore Farm
  36. Danforth Mosaic BIA Master Plan
  37. Dickson Park Garden
  38. Dilworth Residence
  39. Don Landing Revitalization
  40. Dublin Grounds of Remembrance
  41. Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden
  42. Dupont-by-the-Castle BIA
  43. East Point Bird Sanctuary
  44. Eglinton Ave Forecourt
  45. Eglinton Park Master Plan
  46. Elizabeth Fry Society
  47. Ellsworth Residence
  48. Face to Face | Tête à Tête
  49. First Avenue Garden
  50. First Avenue Residence
  51. Flyover Canada
  52. Foote’s Pond Wood
  53. Forest Hill Village Streetscape
  54. Gaze, Glimpse, Glance
  55. Goldring Landscape, University of Toronto
  56. Gormley Garden
  57. Governor's Bridge Lookout
  58. Greener P
  59. Greer Road Garden
  60. Greer Road Residence
  61. Guelph Bridge
  62. Head in the Clouds
  63. Helena Ave Residence 4
  64. Junction Craft Brewery
  65. Kelpies Competition
  66. Kew Gardens Streetscape
  67. King's Landing Apartment
  68. Kipling & Islington Developments
  69. Le jardin du repos
  70. Lenticular Curtain
  71. Leslie Slip Lookout Park
  72. Liberty Village Parkettes
  73. Liza’s Garden
  74. Lynwood Garden
  75. Macroscape
  76. Markham Garden One
  77. Markham Street Residence Two
  78. Midtown Yonge Streetscape
  79. Mulock Park
  80. Nathan Phillips Square
  81. – Streetscape
  82. – Peace Garden
  83. – Podium Roof Garden
  84. Octane Medical Campus
  85. Orchard View Garden
  86. Osgoode Atkinson Green Competition
  87. Owl Cottage
  88. Paperstone Scissors
  89. Pendrith Residence
  90. Peripheral Sitings
  91. Pottery Road Crossing
  92. rare
  93. Ravine Forecourt
  94. Ribbon of the Lower Don
  95. Riverside BIA Master Plan
  96. Roxborough Garden One
  97. Roxborough Garden Two
  98. Schulich School of Business
  99. Sheridan College
  100. – Trafalgar Campus Master Plan
  101. Spadina Quay Wetland
  102. St. Anne's Road Garden
  103. Stratford Market Square Competition
  104. Stratford Patterson Theatre Competition
  105. Superkids Dental
  106. Superlegible
  107. Sweet Farm
  108. Sweet Farm Pond House
  109. Swift Medical Offices
  110. The Meadows Reconsidered
  111. The Red Sash
  112. Thick & Thin
  113. Thistletown II Townhouses
  114. Tipping Point
  115. TMU Centre for Urban Innovation
  116. TMU Science Building
  117. Tranby Garden
  118. Tree House Residence
  119. UBC Okanagan – The Commons
  120. UHN Tunnels
  121. University of Toronto Mississauga Welcome Centre
  122. Venice Biennale 2012
  123. Vermont Square Park
  124. Vernon Avenue Garden
  125. Walk the Walk
  126. Walmer Road Residence
  127. Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial
  128. Wellesley Cottages Garden
  129. Wells Street Residence
  130. Westminster Residence
  131. Weston Village BIA Masterplan
  132. With Words as Their Actions
  133. Woodlawn Avenue Residence
  134. Woven Stories
  135. York Park