Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
In 2017, the City of Niagara Falls Cemetery Services, through the support of Senior Staff and City Council, and in partnership with the Order of St. George, Niagara Falls Legions: A.C. McCallum Memorial Branch 479; Chippawa Branch 396; and Niagara Falls Branch 51, the British Canadian Veterans Association, the Lincoln and Welland Regiment, Kirkpatrick Monument, Morse and Son Funeral Home, Campbell Monument, and Grounds Aerial Maintenance worked toward the design and construction of a new memorial for Niagara's Unknown Soldier.
The Unknown Soldier was originally laid to rest in the Field of Honour in Section M at Fairview Cemetery and his grave was simply identified with a flat marker. Initial discussions revolved around the installation of an upright or larger memorial at the existing grave of the Unknown Solider or in the existing garden of Section M as well as the development of an improved Memorial Garden Centered by the Flag. However meetings of the project team and partners ultimately led to the design of a new location and much larger memorial area with a raised crypt monument to serve as the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” as well as a second memorial monument to be flanked by the Canadian and Union Jack Flags. The design of the new memorial area also incorporates the planting of two Vimy Oaks (donated by Legion Branch 479), adjacent to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The new memorial area and monument were installed on one of Fairview Cemetery’s islands, which serves as a predominant and highly visible and central location. In addition to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and related memorial plaza, work also included the development of a new Field of Honour using the remaining two thirds of the island where two additional Vimy Oaks were planted.
Each year, an annual service during Royal Canadian Legion Week, the third week of September, typically begins with a “Parade to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.” On September 16th, 2017, a very special ceremony properly recognized our Unknown Soldier through a formal Military Funeral and the entombment of the Unknown Soldier. The ceremony also served as the formal unveiling of the restoration of 200 veteran’s and war dead graves in Fairview Cemetery's two existing Fields of Honour, as well as the development of the new Field of Honour to the west of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
*Design of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is credited to Natascha Hufgard, Landscape Design Student, City of Niagara Falls
Fields of Honour
Fairview Cemetery is currently home to two fields of honour, one in Section 4, the other in Section M, a total of approximately 200 graves. For many years, the graves of our veterans and war dead have been maintained, however not to a standard in keeping with the respect and recognition owed to those who served on our behalf. Existing conditions included uneven ground and upright monuments which were not level, nor properly aligned.
In 2016, through consultation with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Veterans Affairs Canada, Niagara Falls Cemetery Services developed a plan to restore the two Fields of Honour. With the support of Seniour Staff and CIty Council, restoration work commenced in the spring of 2017. Restoration work included, investigative and information gathering steps necessary to conduct a complete restoration of this magnitude; the removal of all existing markers (uprights and flat); the installation of a new compacted granular channel foundations; the restoration and re-installment of existing upright monuments; and the replacement of all existing Veteran flat markers, with Commission approved upright monuments. A total of approximately one hundred new upright monuments were added to the existing upright monuments and were installed perfectly upright and aligned. Restoration work was being completed by Anderson’s Cemetery Contracting, a monument restoration specialist approved by Veterans Affairs Canada and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
In addition to the monument restoration/replacement, re-grading and landscaping of the two Fields of Honour, including redevelopment of the Flag Gardens was also completed including the installation of irrigation. In addition, a ceremonial Vimy Oak was planted in each of the Fields of Honour.
The restoration of our two Fields of Honour was fully supported by City Council, and given its magnitude drew the interest and partnership of Veteran Affairs Canada, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as well as additional support through The Last Post Fund and Campbell Monuments. The completion of the restoration project was marked and recognized in connection with the Parade and Entombment of the Unknown Soldier which took place on Saturday September 16, 2017. For more information, please contact the City of Niagara Falls Cemetery Services or visit the page for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.