150+ Canadians Day 05: Walter Allward

Walter Seymour Allward (d. April 24, 1955) contributed to peace through his design of the famous Vimy Monument in France. #Canada150

Known as “Allward of Vimy,” Walter Allward gained his reputation largely on the basis of the mammoth Canadian Battlefields Memorial in Vimy, France (1922-36), that commemorated the important Battle of Vimy Ridge (April 1917) and the over 11,000 Canadians listed as missing in action during the First World War.

Detail of the Vimy Monument showing figures in mourning. Click to enlarge.

Allward’s early work included the figure of “Peace” on the North-West Rebellion Monument in Queen’s Park, Toronto (1895). His reputation well established, Allward’s real talent lay in his heroic monuments.  He won the Vimy commission in 1921 and moved to London, England, the following year, where he set up a studio. He made regular trips to Vimy over the next several years. The Vimy Memorial was unveiled 26 July 1936 by King Edward VIII in the presence of 6,000 Canadians who had travelled to witness the event.

“The Breaking of the Sword” figure on the Vimy Monument.