Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Located in the centre of Lest We Forget Park, in front of the Lacombe Memorial Centre, the Lacombe Cenotaph is comprised of a marble sculpture of a soldier atop a two-level tapered, shaped granite column with decorated capital set on a rough-stone granite base. The Cenotaph is adorned with engravings, which list the names of locals whose lives were lost in the First World War, Second World War, the Korean War and the War in Afghanistan.
Erected in 1924, the Lacombe Cenotaph is valued as a symbol of Canada’s military endeavours and is a local landmark that honours the citizens of Lacombe who gave their lives in wartime. The Cenotaph was erected by the Lest We Forget Club of Lacombe and is prominently located at the centre of Lest We Forget Park, which was established by the Lest We Forget Club in 1922 when they received a parcel of land from the Lacombe School Board. The Club raised money for the creation of the Park and the McDonald Nurseries donated the plantings that surround the Cenotaph. The Cenotaph was built at a cost of $3,500. Comprised of a marble obelisk, in the form of a soldier with weapons at ease, with engraved and applied inscriptions, the Lacombe Cenotaph follows a tradition of memorial architecture typical across Canada at this time. The Cenotaph is inscribed with the words “To the Glory of God. The Honour of the Armies of the Empire and in Proud Memory of our Dead who Fell in the Great War 1914-1918 and Whose Names are Here Recorded”. The Lest We Forget Club donated the Park to the City of Lacombe in 1955.
The Lacombe Cenotaph is valued additionally for its association with designer Albert J. Hart. Hart owned Albert J. Hart, Marble and Granite Works, which was located in Calgary, and was one of the oldest marble and granite works in that city. Hart himself was known as a skillful and fair businessman who was an expert cutter and designer. Albert Hart was the designer of several Memorial Cenotaphs erected throughout Canada including those for the City of Medicine Hat and the Town of Nanton. The Lacombe Cenotaph was carved from Italian Carrera marble, and the pedestal of granite.
The Lacombe Cenotaph is further valued as a central element of Lest We Forget Park, which was designed by Cecil Scott Burgess. Burgess was an important architect and popular academic at the University of Alberta. Born in Bumbai, India in 1870, Burgess was trained in Edinburgh, completing a four-year apprenticeship from 1892 to 1896. In 1903 he moved to Montreal to work as a draughtsman and lecturer at McGill (1909 to 1911). He was hired as Professor of Architecture in the Department of Architecture at the newly conceived University of Alberta in 1913. Burgess designed Lest We Forget Park for Lacombe, drawing from the City Beautiful movement. The design is based on an axial plan with the Lacombe Cenotaph serving as the central element of design. All pathways into the park had a direct sight line to the Cenotaph. An Arts and Crafts inspired entryway that was part of the design was not built.
The Lacombe Cenotaph is additionally valued for its evolution over time as a memorial that commemorates Canada’s involvement in the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War and the War in Afghanistan. The 48 World War one names, the 15 World War Two names, the 1 Korean War name and the 1 War in Afghanistan name that surrounds the four sides of the Cenotaph are an enduring reminder of the effects of war on the local community. Located in a prominent location, the Lacombe Cenotaph stands as a symbol of freedom for local citizens who utilize the park for leisure, and acts as a focus for commemorative activities including remembrance Day ceremonies.
Key elements of that define the heritage character of the Lacombe Cenotaph include its:
- location at the centre of Lest We Forget Memorial Park;
- form, scale and massing including an Italian Carrera marble sculpture of a soldier atop a two-level tapered granite column with decorated capital set on a rough-dressed granite base;
- construction materials including Italian Carrera marble and granite column and pedestal;
- inscribed names that commemorate 64 local citizens; 48 from the First World War, 15 from the Second World War; 1 Korean War name; and 1 from the War in Afghanistan;
- the inscriptions reading; “To the Glory of God. The Honour of the Armies of the Empire and in Proud Memory of our Dead who Fell in the Great War 1914-1918 and Whose Names are Here Recorded”; “This Monument was Erected by the Lest We Forget Club of Lacombe”; “Greater Love Hath No Man Than This”; “Albert J. Hart, Sculptor”; and “1939-1945”;
- 8 decorative poppy engravings; and
- associated landscape features of Lest We Forget Park realizing Burgess’ plan including its axial design and sight lines to the cenotaph from all pathways.