October 23, 2006
by Canadian Architect
Ottawa’s Beechwood Cemetery Foundation will host a public ground-breaking ceremony at the cemetery on Wednesday, October 25, 2006 at 10:30am to commence the construction of the Beechwood National Memorial Centre, a sacred space for all. Beechwood is leading the way with a world-class facility designed to serve the memorial needs of all Canadians, recognizing Canada’s multicultural, multi-faith character.
Taking a bold step into its future, the Beechwood Cemetery Foundation unveiled plans for a stunning Beechwood National Memorial Centre that befits its vision of becoming Canada’s National Cemetery and serving Canada’s diverse faith community. Within the year, a 14,000 square-foot, nine-sided National Memorial Centre will be ready to accommodate some of Canada’s most prestigious commemorative ceremonies, along with the intimate memorial requirements of families and individuals from every faith.
“Canada deserves a sacred space that welcomes all of Canada’s faith communities. This glorious, light-filled space will reflect Beechwood’s national stature and our growing role as a place to commemorate the lives and achievements of Canadians,” says Grete Hale, Foundation President. “Our vision for this Centre builds on our efforts to respond to the call for a versatile space for larger national ceremonies.”
About 400 people will be accommodated under the glass dome of the Beechwood National Memorial Centre designed by local architect, Robert Martin of Robertson Martin Architects. The Centre will also provide an inspirational setting for special events, concerts and other celebrations of life. The Centre will also feature a large reception hall with a “Hall of Colours” to display the laid-up colours of Canada’s military regiments. Canada’s Military Chaplains are currently fundraising for a stained glass window to honour those military personnel who served their country.
“The design and purpose of the Centre make it unique in the world,” says Padre Gerry Peddle, former Chaplain General of the Canadian Forces. The design of the facility was the result of extensive consultations with local leaders of the world’s faith groups and the Ontario Multi-Faith Council. Each faith group can feel at home in the facility and can bring their own unique memorial traditions to the space.
Situated on more than 160 acres, Beechwood is Ottawa’s premier cemetery and a National Historic Site. The Cemetery’s national importance stems from its role as home to both the National Military Cemetery of the Canadian Forces and the RCMP Memorial Cemetery. Beechwood is also the final resting place for many Canadians who helped shape Ottawa and the country, including 26 former city mayors, over 40 families who have been commemorated in Ottawa street names, politicians such as former Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden, Tommy Douglas, and former Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn.
For more information, please visit www.beechwoodcemetery.com.