This letter from Allward is one of the 50 treasures from the collections at Stratford-Perth Archives being celebrated this year 2022 as we mark our 50th anniversary.
Discussions on a suitable soldiers' memorial, led by local chapters of the IODE, started almost as soon as the First World War ended in 1918. By 1920, a group had come together to form the soldiers war memorial committee. Working with the Stratford Chamber of Commerce, they collected $19,000 of the $25,000 needed to build the memorial from citizens of Stratford and North Easthope, Downie and Ellice townships. The rest of the cost of the memorial was covered by grants from the municipal councils.
When Canadian sculptor Walter S. Allward's winning design was announced, it was described as "imposing and highly artistic . . . the central idea of the memorial is the supremacy of right over brute force. On either side of the figures will stand pylons, and the figures are of two men, one representing spiritual man, head high in the air, triumphant after his conflict with the figure representing brute force, who is shrinking down an incline to the valley.
The figures will be of heroic size, about eight or nine feet in height and with the base will reach a height of possibly sixteen feet. The memorial’s horizontal dimension will be upwards of 18 feet . . . in the central space will be the legend: They broke the sword and brought peace to our land.”