This is the view from the antechamber into the Memorial Chamber, which is in many ways the very heart of Centre Block, deliberately created by the architects as a memorial to Canadian war dead. Note that it is cordoned off. Each morning, a few minutes before eleven in the morning, the corridor is blocked for a few minutes. A ceremony is held inside- the turning of pages in each of the books of remembrance contained within. Those with family members in the books can view the ritual from inside- records give a date in the year when a given name will be displayed, and they can arrange ahead of time to be here. This explains the third person in the room, at the right, not in uniform. He would have been a family member. Otherwise members of the public can view things from out here, and then proceed inside after the cordon is removed. I have previously been here during a visit to the Tower at this time of day and have seen this before. It is a quiet but moving thing to see.
Parliament Hill has a police force for the interior of the buildings, and officers conduct the ceremony each morning starting at eleven, a nod to the hour that the First World War ended. The officers open the cases and turn pages so that a new set of names is displayed for the next twenty four hours. Hence at least once a year, each page is open to view. It is done very much in a military manner, including a salute.
Here we see decorative sculpting in the arch above the corridor, a nod to the various animals that in one way or another played some role in military service over the centuries.
Inside, the walls are inscribed with names and dates of military campaigns, such as those in the 19th century.
One of the cases is designated for the War of 1812. Records of individual soldiers from that war are spotty, and so instead of a book this case features pages commemorating them as a whole.
The inscriptions on the wall carry on here.
This book of remembrance is for the South African War, as well as the Nile Expedition in the 1880s.
John McCrae's In Flanders Fields is inscribed on the wall behind it.
More of the exquisite carvings are higher up in the room.
And today I finish off with these inscribed battle and campaigns of the First World War where Canadians served along the Western Front. I will pick up from here tomorrow.