The End of the Year Round Summer

Copyright 2016, Public Art of Toronto. All rights reserved.

South African War Memorial, 1910
Located: 360 University Ave
Artist: Walter Seymour Allward (1876-1955)
Commissioned by: James Mason (1843–1918)
Copyright 2016, Public Art of Toronto. All rights reserved.

In the week leading up to Remembrance Day on November the 11th, PATO will be featuring various memorials to Canada’s valiant war heroes.

boer-mapThe Second Boer War (1899 – 1902) is not a conflict that is well remembered in Canadian history. It has been eclipsed in our national mythology by our accomplishments in both World War One and Two. As a result, the conflict in South Africa is really not a part of our national dialogue, which is why I was surprised that the beautiful memorial located at University Avenue and Queen Street was dedicated to those who had served during this campaign.

In 1899, fighting broke out between British Cape Colony settlers, their Afrikaner supporters and the Republic of Transvaal and the Orange Free State. While it was expected that the Empire would easily quash the rebels, English Canadians felt that Canada should contribute in some way to the war effort. This sentiment was not shared amongst the French and newly arrived Canadians, so as a compromise, then Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier agreed to send a battalion of Canadian volunteers to fight for the British on their dime. This would be the first time that Canadian forces would be deployed on foreign soil in support of the Commonwealth.

In all, over 7000 soldiers and support staff would travel to South Africa to fight. Two hundred and sixty-seven would never return.

The title comes from George Orwell’s quote: “Before the war, and especially before the Boer War, it was summer all the year round.”

3 responses to “The End of the Year Round Summer

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