Government of Canada commemorates the National Historic Significance of the Newfoundland National War Memorial 

News release

June 28, 2021                St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador                                     Parks Canada Agency

The Government of Canada is committed to connecting Canadians to national historic people, places, and events that contributed to our country’s rich and varied heritage and provide an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about our diverse history.

Today the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resource and Member of Parliament for St. John's South - Mount Pearl, on behalf of the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, participated in a ceremony to unveil a plaque recognizing the importance of the Newfoundland National War Memorial as a place of national historic significance. The ceremony was held at the Newfoundland National War Memorial in St. John’s in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Legion.

The Newfoundland National War Memorial, located between Water and Duckworth streets in downtown St. John’s, was conceived and constructed in part by public subscription through the Great War Veteran’s Association in the years following the First World War. Unveiled on July 1, 1924, the memorial remains the focus of remembrance of wartime contributions and sacrifices for the province. The unveiling date was selected because July 1st is Memorial Day in Newfoundland and Labrador, commemorating the Battle of Beaumont Hamel, the deadliest day for the Royal Newfoundland Regiment during the First World War.

Over time, the memorial has expanded to commemorate and honour the sacrifices of other conflicts including the Second World War, Korean War, Afghanistan and War of 1812. The memorial is a combination of allegorical and traditional bronze sculptures set on a granite base that historically represented the willingness of Newfoundland citizens to fight for liberty and freedom with figures reflecting the nature of the contributions made.

The Government of Canada, through the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, recognizes significant persons, places, and events that have shaped our country as one way of helping Canadians connect with their past. By sharing these stories with Canadians, we hope to foster understanding and reflection on the diverse histories, cultures, legacies, and realities of Canada’s past and present.


“When they were asked, Newfoundlanders answered the call of duty and fought for a better tomorrow. My great-, great-uncle, Lt Richard Shortall, was one of them. He was killed at Beaumont Hamel. Their courage and sacrifice must never be forgotten. The Newfoundland National War Memorial ensures their legacy endures, for all Canadians to remember.”

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Jr.
Minister of Natural Resources,
Member of Parliament for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl

Quick facts

  • The memorial was created under the leadership of Padre Thomas Nangle, former chaplain to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment during the conflict. Thomas Nangle was designated person of national historic significance in 2014 by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

  • The positioning and landscaping of the War Memorial within the context of downtown St. John’s enhances its visual impact and symbolism. It’s location, near King’s Beach (now Harbourside Park), where soldiers of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment departed and returned during the First World War, adds to the site’s symbolic value.

  • Designed by British artists Albert Bayes and Ferdinand Victor Blundstone, the Newfoundland National War Memorial is a rare artistic example of post-First World War memorials incorporating elements of the New Sculpture and Neo-Baroque movements that reflected Newfoundland’s role in the conflict.

  • The memorial’s use of both enlisted and non-enlisted sculptural elements challenges the conventional representation of service members in post-war memorials. The elements were designed to convey the story of Newfoundland, its peoples and their contribution to the war effort.

  • Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change regarding the national significance of persons, places, and events that have marked history in Canada. Parks Canada supports the Board's work with professional and administrative services, including the conduct of historical and archaeological research needed for evaluating applications. Together, Parks Canada and the Board ensure that subjects of national historic significance are recognized and these important stories are shared with Canadians under the National Program of Historical Commemoration.

  • For information on how to apply for a designation, please visit the Historic Sites and Monuments Board section under the History and Culture theme on Parks Canada’s website (

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Ray Kenny
A/Manager, External Relations
Newfoundland East Field Unit
Parks Canada Agency

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency


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