Sir Winston Churchill Memorial
On Queen Street West in the southwest corner of Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto’s City Hall stands a magnificent memorial statue of Sir Winston Churchill. Donated to the City of Toronto by the late Harry Jackman in 1977, it is made from the original mould of a work by the eminent sculptor Oscar Nemon that stands in the Members Lobby in the British House of Commons. At the unveiling of the original statue, Oscar Nemon said: “I was trying to express an idea of impatience and hurry, of a man wanting to see something done.” Today, Members of Parliament from all of Britain’s political parties rub Sir Winston’s foot for luck in their parliamentary oratory.
You cannot be blamed if you have lived in Toronto all your life and have never seen the massive statue of Sir Winston Churchill. While the imposing figure watches over passers-by, few take the time from their busy day to glance north and notice the Great Man looking out at them.
In 2002 members of the Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy and our friends at the International Churchill Society, Canada began raising funds to improve the beauty and accessibility of this public space – and to improve its relevance for future generations. The City of Toronto was approached and they came to share the vision of what this memorial could be. New benches were added and the grounds were improved.
It was agreed there needed to be a reason for individuals to stop, something to draw their attention, and also a reason for school groups to visit on a field trip to Toronto City Hall. That is why four informational panels were created, each panel portraying a different dimension of Churchill’s life and achievements.
The texts and photos of each information panels have been published on this website and can be accessed by clicking below or in the left column. A lesson plan is being created for teachers who may wish to consider such a visit to the Sir Winston Churchill Memorial with their class. It is also for educators who are looking for an overview of Churchill and his connection to the City and to Canada.
New Information Panels
One panel tells of his leadership in the defence of democracy in World War II and is illustrated with the famous photograph of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta.
A second tells of his special relationship with Canada, his many visits and his love for our country. On this panel we see Churchill as captured in that famous Karsh portrait.
A third shows Churchill at his easel in painterâ€™s smock and relates his achievements as a Renaissance man whose many honours include the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The fourth panel recounts Churchillâ€™s achievements as parliamentarian and his deep commitment to parliamentary democracy.
The Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy and the International Churchill Society, Canada provided lead writers for each panel: Michael Wilson for Winston Churchill as World Leader; Terry Reardon for Winston Churchill – Toronto and Canada; Ron Cohen for Winston Churchill – Renaissance Man; Andrew McMurtry for Winston Churchill and Parliamentary Democracy. Executive members of the two societies fine tuned the texts and Peter H. Russell acted as editor-in-chief. The final edit was done by Churchill’s official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert.
Charles Anderson was the treasurer for this revitalization project, which would not have been possible without the generous financial support from individuals and organizations from six Canadian provinces.
Click here for the list of financial supporters
Plaques on the Base of the Memorial
What follows are the texts of the four original plaques which remain on each side of the base:
His faith and leadership inspired free men to fight in every quarter of the globe for the triumph of justice and liberty.
Presented to the City of Toronto by the Churchill Memorial Committee aided by the generosity of Henry R. Jackman, O.C., K.St.U., Q.C., October 23, 1977, David Crombie, Mayor, David P. Smith, President of City Council.
“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”
May 13th. 1940
â€œNever in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so fewâ€
Battle of Britain – August 20th. 1940
â€œHe mobilized the English language and sent it into battleâ€ – President Kennedy April 9th. 1963
â€œTheir Generals advised Franceâ€™s divided Cabinet
â€˜In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chickenâ€™.
Some Chicken! Some Neck!”
Canadian House of Commons – December 30th. 1941
â€œWe shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight on the hills; we shall never surrenderâ€.
Speech on Dunkirk, House of Commons, June 4th. 1940