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Battalion Numbers

Calgary

Other Names:
Battalion Numbers Signal Hill
Cairn Hill
Sarcee Camp
Signal Hill
Signal Hill Battalion #13
Signal Hill Battalion Number 113

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Battalion Numbers site is situated on 0.265 hectares of land located on a high ridge in Calgary's Signal Hill community. The site includes a series of white-painted stones arranged in the form of the numerals "113". Each numeral is about 36.5 metres in length and 1.8 to 3.7 metres wide. Additional rock formations in the shape of the numbers "51", "137", and "151" are located nearby, but are not included in the designation.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Battalion Numbers site lies in its commemoration of the heroic efforts of Albertan soldiers in World War One.

In the summer of 1914, the Canadian militia leased a part of the Sarcee Indian Reserve as a prospective training site for military personnel. Sarcee Camp, as the site came to be known, was the only area in Alberta set aside to train soldiers for battle during World War One. More than 45,000 men from 30 units across the province trained at the camp over the course of the war. It was one of the largest military training areas in Canada at the time. Stones were used by soldiers to outline various sections of Sarcee Camp and also to depict their unit badges in front of their assigned areas of the "tent city". A number of military units also created more monumental rock constructions, assembling thousands of stones to form the serif-type numerals of their battalion numbers. Among those who did so were the 137th Infantry Battalion of Calgary, the 151st Central Alberta Battalion, and the 51st Canadian Infantry Battalion, all of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.). These battalion numbers remain on the site, though they have been moved from their original locations. The stone monument created by the 113th Lethbridge Highlands Infantry Battalion of the C. E. F. is the only battalion number to remain in situ. The site remains a stirring reminder of the training of Alberta's soldiers during World War One and the heroic sacrifices they made during the Great War.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1384)


Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Battalion Numbers include such features as:
- location;
- form and serif-type style of numerals "113";
- placement and concentration of stones;
- whitewash on stones;
- sight lines to the site from the south.



Location



Street Address:
Community: Calgary
Boundaries: Lot 7MR, Block 1, Plan 9011331
Contributing Resources: Landscape(s) or Landscape Feature(s): 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
5
2
24
2
15 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
8810394

N/A
A

Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
51.021285 -114.173970 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1988/08/29

Historical Information

Built: 1916 to 1916
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s) Governing Canada : Military and Defence
Historic Function(s): Defence : Military Base
Current Function(s): Leisure : Historic or Interpretive Site
Architect:
Builder:
Context: HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE

In the summer of 1914 the Canadian militia leased a part of the Sarcee Indian Reserve to use as a prospective training campsite. The camp was bounded on the north by Reservoir Park and on the south by the Elbow River, which also divided the camp from the Indian Reserve. During World War One the Camp trained a total of 45,136 men for thirty units from various Alberta locations.

At that time, Sarcee Camp used a vast number of large whitewashed stone to outline the various sections of the camp, battalion areas, and thoroughfares. Stones also were used by many of the individual battalions to create their unit badges which were placed in front of their assigned areas in the camp. The practice was extended to create huge memorial markers to designate the battalions. These were placed on the high ground overlooking the camp from the north or on a slope of ground to the east of the one-time tented area. As a result, the northern elevated section of the camp became known as 'Cairn Hil', although in 1982 it was officially changed to 'Signal Hill'.

The construction of the officer's mess destroyed the numbers placed on the east rise of ground near the camp while many of the memorials on the north hill have been dispensed through time. However, one of the original memorials commemoration the 113th battalion remains intact.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0565
Designation File: DES 1384
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 15677
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1384)
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