ITS INSIGNIA

In the center of the Monument appear the French and Canadian emblems, Marianne "embraced" by a veined maple leaf, overhung by two forearms, female and male, holding a torch. Two low walls adjoining this central part bear the sculptures of French and Canadian decorations. The decorations adorning the side walls are in order of precedence, for France, the National Order of the Legion of Honour, the Military Medal, the National Order of Merit and the National Defence Medal and for Canada, the Victoria Cross, the Order of Canada, the Order of Military Merit and the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, and the Meritorious Service Cross. The insignia of these decorations were skillfully engraved onto this Dark Barre® granite which provide an excellent contrast when carved and lettered. You will find below a brief history and description for each of the decorations inscribed onto the memorial’s two side walls.

 

​Left wall - FRANCE

Right wall - CANADA

FRANCE

 

The National Order of the Legion of Honour

The National Order of the Legion of Honour.jpg

Insignia engraved on granite

Legion of Honour.jpg

Photo of insignia

History

The highest distinction in France, the Legion of Honour was created by First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. It recognizes both military personnel and civilians for an act of extreme bravery or eminent services in all fields of society. 

The President of the Republic is the Grand Master of the Order while the Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour is responsible for its administration and presides over the Council of the Order. The Order currently has five levels divided into three grades: Knight, Officer and Commander; and two dignities: Grand Officer and Grand Cross. Approximately 2,200 French citizens and 300 foreigners are decorated annually.

 

Foreigners may be decorated with the Legion of Honour, without becoming members of the Order, and many Canadians have received this honour. Recipients include prominent citizens such as former Governors General Michaëlle Jean (Grand Cross 2011) and Roméo Leblanc (Grand Officer 2002), former Prime Ministers William Lyon Mackenzie King (Grand Cross 1948) and Brian Mulroney (Commander 2016), businessman Paul Desmarais (promoted to Grand Cross 2008), singer Céline Dion (promoted to Officer 2021), philanthropist Helen Vari (promoted to Grand Officer 2022), novelist Antonine Maillet (promoted to Commander 2022), among many other Canadian luminaries of public service, the arts and business. On the military side, many Canadians were decorated during the two world wars. Later, France offered the Legion of Honour to the last few survivors of the Great War in 1998, and also decorated veterans of the Normandy Landings and the Liberation of France on significant anniversaries, a few dozen in 2004 and more than 1,400 in 2014. Even today, members of the Canadian Armed Forces are recognized for their leadership, including several Chiefs of the Defence Staff or Commanders of Commands.

 

Description

The details of the insignia of the Legion of Honour have changed with each regime change over the past two centuries, but its general shape remains the same. It is a star with five double rays enameled in white, the ten points buttoned. The rays are connected by a green enameled wreath composed of oak (right) and laurel (left) leaves, the lower ends of which are intertwined and attached by a knot. The center of the star features a gold medallion with a head of Ceres in profile, symbolizing the Republic, surrounded by a blue circlet bearing the words: RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE. The star is suspended from a green enameled wreath composed of oak leaves (this time on the left) and laurel leaves (this time on the right). On the reverse, the gold medallion bears two tricolored flags with the inscription HONNEUR ET PATRIE as well as the date of creation of the order: 29 FLORÉAL AN X. 

 

The Knight's insignia is silver and is worn on the left breast. The insignia of the higher classes are gold. The Officer's insignia is also worn on the chest and its ribbon is decorated with a rosette, the Commander's insignia is worn around the neck. The Grand Officer's insignia consists of the Officer's insignia with a silver plaque worn on the right side of the chest. The Grand Cross insignia is worn suspended from a sash on the left hip with a gold plaque worn on the left side of the chest.

 

The color of the ribbon is red.

Top of page

 

The Military Medal

La Médaille Militaire.jpg

Insignia engraved on granite

2 Médaille Militaire.jpg

Photo of insignia

History

France's second highest honour and its highest strictly military honour, the Military Medal, often referred to as the Non-Commissioned Officer's Legion of Honour, was created by the Prince President, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, later Napoleon III, in 1852. It rewards extraordinary feats or long years spent in the army, and is based on the motto "Valeur et discipline".

The Military Medal is granted by decision of the Council of the Order of the Legion of Honour, confirmed by a decree of attribution signed by the President of the Republic. It can be awarded for having been in the armed forces for at least eight years, for having been cited in the army order, for having been wounded in combat or in service, or for having performed an act of courage and devotion.

 

The Military Medal is intended only for non-commissioned officers and soldiers, with the rare exception of exceptional awards to generals who have commanded in chief, a very rare honour. Approximately 2,700 French and 30 foreigners receive the Military Medal each year.

More than 55 Canadian service personnel have been awarded the Military Medal for their exploits during the First World War.

The Société nationale d'entraide de la Médaille Militaire, an association of recipients of the decoration, has signed an agreement with the Order of Military Merit of Canada to open the Society's benefits to members of the Canadian Order in recognition of the Canadian military contribution in France during the two World Wars. 

 

Description

The Military Medal, 28 mm in diameter, is made of silver and bears on the obverse the effigy of the Republic with this exergue: RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE and on the reverse, in the center of the medallion VALEUR ET DISCIPLINE. It is surmounted by a trophy of arms.

 

Its ribbon is yellow edged with green.

Top of page

 
 

The National Order of Merit

L’Ordre national du Mérite.jpg
History

The second national order of France, the National Order of Merit, was created by General Charles de Gaulle in 1963. The purpose of its creation was multidimensional. In addition to serving national unity, there was a need to reduce the pressure on the Legion of Honour, which had been overused, especially during the two World Wars, to preserve its rarity and prestige, to standardize and simplify the recognition system, which was then a large and complex set of specialized distinctions, and to reward a younger generation that could serve as an example. 

In order to rationalize the French system of decorations, sixteen specialized ministerial and colonial orders were abolished when the National Order of Merit was created. The new Order is dedicated to rewarding distinguished merit (the Legion of Honour recognizes eminent merit), military or civilian, in all fields of activity, after at least ten years of service (20 years for the Legion of Honour).

 

The President of the Republic is the Grand Master of the Order while the Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour is also the Chancellor of the National Order of Merit and is responsible for its administration and presides over the Council of the Order. The Order has five levels divided into three grades: Knight, Officer and Commander; and two dignities: Grand Officer and Grand Cross. Approximately 3,800 French citizens and 300 foreigners are decorated annually.

 

Many Canadian citizens have been awarded the National Order of Merit, including General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff (Commander 2021), singer Edith Butler (Knight 1998), singer Robert Charlebois (Knight 2004) and historian Jacques Lacoursière (Knight 2008).

 

Description

The insignia is a double six-pointed star enameled in blue, surmounted by a clasp of interlaced oak leaves. The corners of the star's branches are decorated with interlaced laurel leaves. The obverse shows the effigy of the Republic with the inscription RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE and the reverse two tricolor flags with the inscription ORDRE NATIONAL DU MÉRITE and the date 3 DÉCEMBER 1963.

 

The Knight's insignia is silver and is worn on the left breast. The insignia of the higher grades are gold. The Officer's insignia is also worn on the chest and its ribbon is decorated with a rosette, the Commander's insignia is worn around the neck. The Grand Officer's insignia consists of the Officer's insignia with a silver plaque worn on the right side of the chest. The Grand Cross insignia is worn suspended from a sash on the left hip with a gold plaque worn on the left side of the chest.

 

Its ribbon is French blue.

Top of page

Insignia engraved on granite

3 Ordre National du Merite.png

Photo of insignia

The National Defence Medal

La Médaille de la Défense nationale.jpg

Insignia engraved on granite

4 National Defense.tif

Photo of insignia

History

The National Defence Medal was created in 1982 by President François Mitterrand following an initiative by Charles Hernu, then Minister of Defense. It rewards particularly honorable services rendered by military personnel (active and reserve) for their participation in operational activities or operational preparation of the armed forces and interventions for the benefit of the population.

The medal has three levels: gold, silver and bronze. It also includes clasps. Military personnel who participate in operational activities, exercises, etc. accumulate a certain number of points that allow them to obtain the three levels in succession.

 

The National Defence Medal may be awarded, exceptionally, at one of the three levels to:

 

  • active or reserve military personnel and defence civilians killed or wounded in the performance of their duty;

  • active or reserve military personnel who have distinguished themselves by the quality of their services;

  • French and foreign military or civilian civilians who have rendered particularly honorable services to the defence of France.

 

The National Defence Medal, gold level without clasp can also be awarded for a citation without a cross when, for example, a member of the military has distinguished themselves during an action involving a heightened risk. In such cases, the ribbon will have a device corresponding to the level of the citation.

 

Nearly 100 members of the Canadian Armed Forces have received the National Defence Medal (15 gold, 30 silver and 48 bronze, all clasps, as of January 1, 2022). Among them is Lieutenant-Colonel Doris Gobeil, the only Canadian to have received the Gold Medal with a bronze star signifying a citation at the brigade or regiment level.

 

Description

This is a circular medal in gold, silver or bronze, bearing on the obverse the effigy of the Marseillaise by Rude and the words RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE. On the reverse appears the Phrygian cap, a palm of laurel leaves and the inscriptions ARMÉE-NATION and DÉFENSE NATIONALE. 

 

The ribbon is dark red with a central overseas blue stripe. On each side of the ribbon is a white edge for the silver medal or a yellow edge for the gold medal.

 

The medal has clasps with an inscription corresponding to the arm to which the recipient belongs or to the particular geographic location where the recipient served.

 

The ribbon of the medal, gold level, can bear devices (stars of different metals,

bronze palm, etc.) expressing citations and their level.

Top of page

 

CANADA

The Victoria Cross

Victoria Cross.jpg

Insignia engraved on granite

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 4.54.45 PM.png

Photo of insignia

History

The original Victoria Cross was created by Queen Victoria in 1856 and is the Commonwealth's highest and most prestigious award. The Victoria Cross is awarded for an act of conspicuous bravery, a daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy. It was awarded to Canadian servicemen in various conflicts up to the end of the Second World War.

The original Victoria Cross has been awarded to 81 members of Canada's military forces out of a total of 1,355 Crosses and three Bars awarded throughout the British Empire to date. This number includes only those who received the Cross while serving in the Canadian armed forces (including Newfoundland) and does not take into account Canadian recipients who were serving in the British forces or British recipients who subsequently moved to Canada or joined its armed forces. The last Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, Sergeant Ernest Avila "Smokey" Smith, VC, CM, OBC, CD, (retired), died on 3 August 2005.

 

For Canadians, effective January 1, 1993, the Canadian Victoria Cross replaced the British Cross. The new Victoria Cross, created by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by letters patent issued on 31 December 1992, is part of a new series of decorations called the " Military Valour Decorations" which includes:

  • the Victoria Cross (VC);

  • the Star of Military Valour (SMV); and

  • the Medal of Military Valour (MMV).

 

These awards recognize acts of valour, self-sacrifice or devotion to duty in the face of the enemy. While 21 SMVs and 90 MMVs have been awarded since their inception, the Canadian VC has yet to be awarded.

 

Description

The new Victoria Cross is identical to the original; only the motto FOR VALOUR on the obverse has been changed to the Latin PRO VALORE due to the bilingual nature of Canada.

 

It is a bronze cross pattée measuring 38 mm in diameter, with flat arms and raised edges. It bears on the obverse the Royal Crown surmounted by a lion guardant, below which is a scroll bearing the inscription PRO VALORE; and on the reverse, the date of the act for which the Cross is awarded, which is engraved within a raised circle.

 

The Cross is suspended by means of a plain link from a V below a straight bar ornamented with laurel leaves, on the back of which are engraved the rank, name and unit of the recipient.

 

The ribbon is crimson and 38 mm in width, identical to its British predecessor.

Top of page

 

The Order of Canada

Order of Canada.jpg

Insignia engraved on granite

6 Order of Canada.jpg

Photo of insignia

History

Established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Canada is the cornerstone of the Canadian Honours System. It recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community or contribution to the nation. Canadians from all walks of life have been appointed to the Order of Canada.

His Majesty The King is the Sovereign of the Order and the Governor General is the Chancellor and Principal Companion. Since 1972, the Order has had three grades: Member, Officer and Companion. The Order also includes an Extraordinary Division for members of the Royal Family and Governors General and their spouses, and an Honorary Division for foreign citizens.

 

Nominations from the general public are considered by the Advisory Council of the Order of Canada, chaired by the Chief Justice of Canada, which makes recommendations to the Governor General, who approves appointments and promotions on behalf of The King.

 

The number of annual appointments is strictly limited by the Constitution of the Order. It allows for the appointment of fifteen Companions (the total number of Companions cannot exceed 180), 80 Officers and 171 Members annually. More than 7,600 persons have been admitted to the Order since its foundation. Honorary members include two French citizens; singer Charles Aznavour and journalist Bernard Pivot, both made Honorary Officers in 2008.

 

Description

The insignia of the Order of Canada is in the form of a stylized snowflake of six points, enameled white, with a stylized maple leaf at its centre, surrounded by a red annulus inscribed with the motto of the Order, DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (They desire a better country), surmounted by the Royal Crown. The reverse of the insignia is simple, with only the word CANADA and an inventory number.

 

The Companion’s insignia is gold in color, has a red maple leaf in the center and is worn around the neck. The Officer's insignia is also gold but smaller, has a gold maple leaf in the center and is also worn around the neck. The Member's insignia is silver with a silver maple leaf in the center and is worn on the chest.
 

The ribbon of the Order is 38 mm wide and white with red edges (9 mm),

the same proportions as the Canadian flag.

Top of page

 

The Order of Military Merit and the Order of Merit of the Police Forces

L'Ordre du mérite militaire et L’Ordre du mérite des corps policiers.jpg

Insignia engraved on granite

7 Merite militaire et police.jpg

Photo of insignia

History of the Order of Military Merit 

Established in 1972 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Military Merit (OMM) recognizes the special merit and exceptional service of members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

His Majesty The King is the Sovereign of the Order, the Governor General is the Chancellor and the Chief of the Defence Staff is the Principal Commander. The Order has three grades: Member, Officer and Commander. The Order also has an Extraordinary Division for members of the Royal Family and Governors General, and an Honorary Division for foreign military personnel. 


Nominations from the chain of command are considered by the Advisory Council of the Order of Military Merit, chaired by the Chief of the Defence Staff, which makes recommendations to the Governor General who approves appointments and promotions on behalf of The King.


The number of annual appointments is strictly limited by the Order's Constitution. It allows for an annual number of appointments equal to 0.1% of the total strength of the Canadian Armed Forces in the previous year. Today, this represents approximately 110 appointments per year. Of these, 5% are made Commander, 20% Officer, and 75% Member. As of 1 July 2022, the Order's 50th anniversary, the total number of appointments (including promotions) since the Order's inception is 5,285, with 300 Commanders, 1,377 Officers and 3,608 Members. The motto of the Order is OFFICIUM ANTE COMMODUM, which means "service before self".

 

History of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces

Established in 2000 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Merit of the Police Forces recognizes the exemplary meritorious service and conspicuous leadership of the men and women of Canadian police services and their commitment to the country.  

 

His Majesty The King is the Sovereign of the Order, the Governor General is the Chancellor and the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is the Principal Commander. The Order has three ranks: Member, Officer and Commander. The Order also includes an Honorary Division for foreign police officers. 

 

Nominations from police forces across the country are considered by the Advisory Council of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, chaired by the President of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, who makes recommendations through the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to the Governor General, who approves the appointments and promotions on behalf of The King.

 

The number of annual appointments is strictly limited by the Order's Constitution. It allows for an annual number of appointments equal to 0.1% of the previous year's total police strength. Today, this represents approximately 65 appointments per year. Of these, 6% are made Commander, 30% Officer, and 64% Member. As of 1 July 2022, the total number of appointments (including promotions) since the Order's inception is 1,148, consisting of 29 Commanders, 229 Officers and 882 Members. 

 

Description

The insignia of the two orders is identical and consists of a blue-enameled, straight-end cross pattée (four arms, narrow at the centre and expanding towards the ends). The badge bears a maple leaf in its center, on a white background, surrounded by an annulus enameled red which bears the inscription "MERIT-MÉRITE-CANADA", the annulus being surmounted by the Royal Crown enameled in full colours. The reverse is plain with the exception of an inventory number. 

 

The Commander's insignia is gold in color, has a red maple leaf in the center and is worn at the neck. The Officer's insignia is also gold, has a gold maple leaf in the center and is worn on the chest. The Member insignia is silver, has a silver maple leaf in the center and is also worn on the chest.

 

The Order of Military Merit ribbon is 38 mm wide, blue with gold edges (4.8 mm).

The Order of Merit of the Police Forces is the same width but is blue with a gold

central stripe, each stripe being equal.

Top of page

 

The Meritorious Service Cross

Meritorious Service Cross.jpg

Insignia engraved on granite

8 Meritorious Service.tif

Photo of insignia

History

Meritorious Service Decorations recognize a single achievement or activity during a specified period. Meritorious Service Decorations belong to either the Military Division or the Civil Division, each with two levels: the Meritorious Service Cross and the Meritorious Service Medal. 

The Military Division Cross was created by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1984. The Military Division Medal and the Civil Division Cross and Medal were created in 1991. The Meritorious Service Cross is awarded to individuals who have displayed outstanding professionalism or an uncommonly high standard that brings considerable benefit or great honour to Canada. The Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to individuals displaying high professionalism or a very high standard that brings benefit or honour to Canada. 494 Crosses (266 military and 228 civilian) and 1,973 Medals (1,070 military and 903 civilian) have been awarded as of 2022.

  

Foreigners may be recognized in either division. Several French citizens have been awarded one of these decorations. In the Military Division, three French generals received the Meritorious Service Cross: Lieutenant-General Bertrand Guillaume de Sauville de Lapresle and Generals (Army Corps) Bernard Janvier and Philippe Morillon, all three in connection with their command in the former Yugoslavia. Six French military personnel also received the Meritorious Service Medal, several of whom served with the French Defense Mission in Ottawa, but also General Denis Mercier, chief of staff of the French Air Force in 2014 and Major Yves Minjollet, administrator of the Palace and Museum of the Legion of Honour in 2009. As of July 2022, 24 French citizens have been recognized with the Meritorious Service Medal in the Civilian Division, the vast majority in connection with the duty of remembrance, having demonstrated remarkable dedication to preserving the memory of Canadians who fought on French soil during the two World Wars. An example among others is Sister Agnès-Marie Valois, decorated in 1998. She had cared for Canadian soldiers during the Dieppe raid in 1942 and continued to be actively involved in the organization of commemorations well into her old age.

 

Description

The badge is a silver-coloured Greek cross, 38 mm wide, with the ends of the convex arms splayed. It is ensigned with the Royal Crown which forms part of the suspension. Between the arms of the cross is a laurel wreath. On the obverse, a maple leaf adorns the center. On the reverse, the arms of the cross extend beyond two concentric circles which form the middle of the cross. The Royal Cypher appears in the innermost circle, with the words “MERITORIOUS SERVICE MÉRITOIRE” between the inner and outer circles. The words “MERITORIOUS” and “MÉRITOIRE” are separated by a maple leaf at the bottom. The Meritorious Service Medal follows the same design, with the corners of the cross filled in to form a circular medal 36 mm in diameter, suspended from a ring.

 

The 32 mm wide Military Division Cross ribbon is blue with two white stripes (6 mm wide) centered on the outer thirds of the ribbon. The ribbon for the Cross in the Civil Division

is similar but has an additional 2 mm white center stripe. The Medal ribbons follow the same design with 1 mm blue lines centered on the outer white stripes.

Top of page