AMICITIA France-Canada is the national monument erected in Ottawa to recognize more than four centuries of shared history and heritage and more than 90 years of official diplomatic relations between France and Canada.
Beyond the timeless memorial, Amicitia wants to entrust to future generations, through their civic engagement, the mission of continuing to keep our unique fraternal friendship between France and Canada alive.
A Monument born from shared history and heritage
Located in historic Beechwood Cemetery — the national cemetery of Canada — this monument will be a living testament to our everlasting friendship and to the countless French communities and Canadians from sea to sea to sea who have and continue to support, contribute and enrich the lives of so many others all around the world during times of war, conflict and peace.
As well, France and Canada continue their commitment to work jointly all around the world in military and police conflicts such as fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, fighting drug interdiction in the Caribbean and conducting peace keeping and making operations in remote and conflicted regions.
Our close relationship and deep cooperation have led to important advances and contributions with considerable impact over the years in the fields of education, research, technology, justice, literature and culture. It is through our long-lasting historical, cultural, economic and scientific ties — as well as our desire to achieve common goals, gender equality and democratic legitimacy — that we continue to build and solidify our fraternal friendship.
"AMICITIA France-Canada is the Latin expression for “fraternal friendship France‑Canada”
During the Great War, there were over 650,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who participated in that “war to end all wars.” Amidst them are French immigrants who arrived during the late 19th and early 20th century who volunteered to join the Canadian Corps for fighting in France. Despite the terrible conditions that existed at that time and building on the foundation established by members of the French and Allied Forces, it was at the Battle of Vimy Ridge that Canada attacked and captured the German stronghold in April 1917. Celebrated as one of Canada’s greatest victory, this is where the iconic Canadian National Vimy Memorial has stood since July 1936. During the First World War, there were many Canadians who were recognized with the French Legion of Honour for their leadership role during battle and also 52 brave Canadians who were honoured with the French Military Medal – France’s second highest award that dates back to 1852.
During the Second World War, there were countless battles undertaken by thousands of Canadian sailors, soldiers and aviators who were part of the efforts in the Liberation of France in August 1944. As a sign of respect and appreciation to the Canadians, the government of France awarded their Legion of Honour to more than 1,400 men and women from the Canadian armed forces who participated in the Liberation efforts that spanned from Provence to Normandy. History repeated itself when French people from the Free French forces enrolled in the Canadian forces for combat in France – of whom one of these members was buried with full military honours at Beechwood Cemetery.
Today, France and Canada continue their commitment to work jointly all around the world in military and police conflicts such as fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, fighting drug interdiction in the Caribbean and conducting peace keeping and making operations in remote and conflicted regions. As well, our close cooperative relationship has led to important advances and contributions with considerable impact over the years in the fields of education, research, technology, justice and culture. It is through our long-lasting historical, cultural, economic and scientific ties – as well as our desire to achieve common goals, gender equality and democratic legitimacy – that we continue to build and solidify our fraternal friendship.
A monument built on strength
The construction of our commemorative site within Beechwood Cemetery will certainly encourage similar initiatives, paving the way for a future "garden of Canada's allies". Being a timeless memorial, "Amicitia France-Canada" must not only honor the spirit of the contributions and sacrifices made but must also be a physical symbol highlighting the combined action of our respective strengths and excellences. The monument will thus symbolize the transmission of the duty of memory to the younger generations, the common will to achieve perfect gender equality and the objective of protecting the world’s poorest populations from all forms of violence.
Made of granite and bronze, this monument is described in two inseparable parts, forming a whole of about 7.5 metres long with a height, on the central part, of 3 metres. On the central plinth of the monument will appear the Latin inscription "AMICITIA FRANCE-CANADA" below which will be carved the effigy of "Marianne" – the historic symbol of France – superimposed on a large veined maple leaf representing Canada. At the top of the pedestal will be a sculpture of two forearms, female and male, mutually brandishing a torch. The female arm on the left will represent that of Marianne sculpted at the base of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris near the flame of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier buried there in November 1920. The male arm on the right is inspired by the figure of the "Torchbearer" located at the foot of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France and near the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, from where Canada’s Unknown Soldier was repatriated to Ottawa in May 2000.
The female arm will represent that of Marianne sculpted at the base of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
The male arm is inspired by the figure of the "Torchbearer" located at the foot of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France.
The AMICITIA France-Canada Monument is proudly supported by AMICITIA France-Canada: The “Société nationale d’entraide de la Médaille militaire au Canada”, “association Français du Monde Ottawa-Gatineau”, “association de l’Union des Français à l’étranger Ottawa- Gatineau” and “association des décorés de la Légion d’honneur Ottawa”, Beechwood, the National Cemetery of Canada and the Embassy of France in Canada.