The History of the Newfoundland & Labrador Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial
The Newfoundland and Labrador Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial is dedicated to the memory of those police and peace officers who lost their lives in the performance of their duties, while protecting the lives and property of the people and the natural resources of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Honourable Thomas W. Marshall, Minister of Justice and Attorney General officially unveiled the Memorial on September 9, 2004.
Work on the Newfoundland and Labrador Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial began in May 1998 when Cst Georgina Short of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary became aware that, in observance of the National Memorial Day, no provincial memorial parade or service was held to honour those Newfoundland and Labrador police and peace officers who had lost their lives. Through numerous inquiries and research over the next few years she learned that at least 20 police and peace officers had died in the line of duty in this province and there were some 17 police and peace officer groups in the province. She met and/or spoke with members of these groups and shared with them her concern and the idea of a memorial monument and site that could serve as a focal point for memorial and commemorative services, as well as be a suitable provincial landmark for fallen police and peace officers.
During 2001 and 2002 she corresponded and met with various Government Departments to seek their support for a plan to: form a Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Association, to be incorporated as a charitable body; construct a monument to the memory of those officers who died in the line of duty; and have the province proclaim the last Sunday of September of every year as the Provincial Memorial Day. Newfoundland and Labrador police and peace officers could then use the monument site as the provincial focal point for a service and parade to coincide with the National Memorial Day service. Government committed to support the idea and offered a site on Confederation Hill for the location of the memorial.
Significant progress was made in the fall of 2002 when more organizations and people came together to support this idea. In January 2003 the Newfoundland and Labrador Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Association (NLPPOMA) was formed with Constable Short elected President, Conservation Officer Michael Parsons, Vice-President, Correctional Officer Denis Murphy, Treasurer, and Deputy Sheriff’s Officer Kimberley Stockwood, Secretary.
On May 23, 2003 the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador officially proclaimed the last Sunday in September of every year as Newfoundland and Labrador Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Day.
In order to have a fitting and permanent tribute to the fallen police and peace officers, the Association commissioned Professor Don Foulds of the Visual Arts Department at the Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University of Newfoundland in Corner Brook to design a monument. When Professor Foulds’ submission was accepted he was subsequently engaged as the artist/ designer/ organizer to develop the total design and as the project manager to oversee the construction of the Newfoundland and Labrador Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Monument and site. Professor Foulds started on the memorial in May 2003 and hired graduates and students from the Visual Arts Department at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, as well as professional craftsmen to work on the monument and complete parts of the overall design such as carving or assembling segments of the total project.
The design represents all regions of Newfoundland and Labrador and all members of police and peace officers’ organizations. The monument serves as a memorial to the 20 police and peace officers who have died in the line of duty and names can be added, as needed, without disturbing the monument. This memorial does not have specific images or references that would exclude any individual, police or peace officer group, or region. All groups are reflected in the imagery and design.
At the unveiling of a model or maquette of the monument two days before the First Annual Memorial Parade, which was held on September 28, 2003, the Government committed $ 25,000.00 to this project. The Government later donated an additional $40,000.00 towards the Memorial, for a total of $65,000.00.
NLPPOMA wishes to acknowledge and thank its various supporters and partners who have made contributions to date to the Memorial fund. It is especially thankful to those groups that have provided free services and contributions in kind. The eleven-ton Anorthosite (Labradorite) Stone used for the pinnacle of the Memorial and the other Anorthosite Stones were donated and moved from Ten Mile Bay to Nain by the Labrador Inuit Development Corporation. They were then transported, without charge, from Nain to Lewisporte by the Marine Division of the Woodward Group of Companies and subsequently given a free ride to Corner Brook by D&D Transport Ltd. and Way’s Transport Ltd. of Corner Brook. The flagstone and the Newfoundland Black marble all came from the Corner Brook area. The Department of Natural Resources, Forestry Services and Hunt’s Transport of Corner Brook later moved the various stones and the finished materials from Corner Brook for assembly at the memorial site in St. John’s.
Although the budget for the monument and site was $180,000.00 it could easily have been significantly higher, if it had not been for the generous and free services of our supporters.
All goals were met because the funding for the Memorial was a complementary effort spearheaded by the Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Association and involved a charitable, public and private partnership. The Association received donations and support from the Provincial Government, contributions and free service from private companies throughout the Province and donations from the general public.
We now have a monument that is befitting the sacrifice the 20 fallen Police and Peace Officers made in the service of the people of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is truly a unique and fitting tribute that we all can be proud of.
Although the Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Association took the initiative to have the monument constructed, it would not have happened, without the combined support of the people, the business community and the Provincial Government.
In keeping with our view that the monument belonged to the people of the Province, on Sunday, September 24, 2006, Cst. Georgina Short, Association President, turned the Monument over to the Honourable John Ottenheimer, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, representing Premier Danny Williams and through him, to the Province and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Organization of the Project
The design process has taken into account the delicate and complex politics that come with the site and the serious and significant nature of the Memorial.
In order to have a fitting and permanent tribute to the fallen police and peace officers, the Association commissioned Professor Don Foulds of the Visual Arts Department at the Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University of Newfoundland in Corner Brook to design a monument. When Professor Foulds’ submission was accepted he was subsequently engaged as the artist/designer/organizer to develop the total design and as the project manager to oversee the construction of the Newfoundland and Labrador Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Monument and site. Professor Foulds started on the memorial in May 2003 and hired graduates and students from the Visual Arts Department at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, as well as professional craftsmen to work on the monument and complete parts of the overall design such as carving or assembling segments of the total project.
Sculpture Technicians: Jason Hussey, Omar Badrin, Neil McLellan and other students from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.
The design represents all regions of Newfoundland and Labrador and all members of police and peace officer organizations. The monument serves as a memorial to the 16 police and peace officers who have died in the line of duty and names can be added, as needed, without disturbing the monument. This memorial does not have specific images or references that would exclude any individual, police or peace officer group, or region. All groups are reflected in the imagery and design.
The design of the project has progressed through a series of steps such as the following:
Research (through input on our web site) of the stakeholders and of the envisioned aims, usage and concerns with a Memorial.
Development of the conceptual needs of the Memorial.
Design of the physical Memorial.
Review of the project's concept and design by the committee
A consensus has been reached by the Association and stakeholders that this concept and design are successful and now the process will continue and construction of the Memorial is started and will be completed by September 2004.
Georgina Short, Michael Parsons, Professor Foulds and Rob Shea have discussed the project and the following issues were expressed as some of the thoughts of the Association.
Thoughts of the Association:
Indigenous stone (red and black granite, marble, Labradorite) possible building materials,
Three stone pieces forming a monument,
Presence of crests representing the various police and peace officers,
Look at Ottawa Police and Peace Officers' Memorial behind parliament buildings. It is a gazebo made of wood and has slate panels with inscribed names of fallen officers. It is a historical memorial but also a place for the living to celebrate and commemorate current events,
Must represent all regions of Newfoundland and Labrador and all members of police and peace officers.
The chosen site is marked "A" on the site map of proposed sites on Confederation Hill close to the Confederation Building.
The monument will serve as: a memorial to the 16 police and peace officers who have died in the line of duty (design to be added to as needed), as a focal point for memorial and commemoration services, events and celebrations, and, as a landmark that will provide a public focal point for the Newfoundland and Labrador police and peace officers.
Initial conceptual outline:
The overall design must give the viewer the "feel" that we would like them to have when we think of the police and peace officers or organizations. The Memorial must not feel too playful or frivolous, dominant, aggressive, oppressive, enclosing, nor looming over the community. But rather must feel protecting, organized, open and pleasing to spend time with, committed, a part of the community and integral to the location of the Confederation Hill and Newfoundland.
The Memorial should be unique to Newfoundland and Labrador and project an image on our Newfoundland and Labrador character. It should physically (through use of Newfoundland and Labrador materials) and metaphorically (through image) relate to the uniqueness of Newfoundland and Labrador. The backdrop of Confederation Hill and the Confederation Building should be an integral part of the total image rather than the Memorial feeling separate and tangential or set off in its own space.
The Memorial shouldn't have specific images or references that would exclude any individual, police or peace officers' group, or region. The current politics of inclusion should be reflected in the imagery and design.
Proposal for Newfoundland and Labrador Police and Peace Officer's Memorial
Professor Foulds has chosen to create a Memorial site or space as opposed to a singular monument. This decision was based on a desire to be as inclusive as possible. It is imperative that all the Memorial's users and visitors feel that the Memorial site can represent their interests: people of every age - old and young, every region within the province, individuals of all races, gender, religion and background, members of all police or peace officer organizations. Professor Foulds has chosen to not create a singular monument such as a figure or group of figures as this sort of representation inevitably promotes one group over another and thus excludes some, or at least indicates a hierarchy. As he thought of imagery to use in the Memorial he considered where Newfoundlanders and Labradorians might go to reflect or have a quiet time to remember. He thought a natural choice is the ocean shore to watch the waves crashing over the rocks.
The layout of the design is horizontal; this refers to the ocean. The imagery used is of rocks and water. This is a common theme that everyone in the province can relate to. These images were selected because they refer to fundamental aspects of Newfoundland and Labrador and thus are able to be used as metaphors to spark memories or thoughts of local places and events. Also, they can represent the perpetual conflict of two great forces; water is in a continual flux, eroding and changing all that it touches, whereas rocks are enduringly stabile and create a foundation. These references could be interpreted to be talking about the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and how they have endured, or just as well, about the police and peace officers whose actions create a stable environment in a world of conflict.
Forms that simulate undulating waves and swirling water create the dominant feel of the site. The large linear forms invoke the feeling of waves and the more solid masses infer areas of water or islands. These elements are beautiful and yet have a challenging and unsettling ruggedness, as does Newfoundland and Labrador's natural environment of ocean and mountains.
Visitors are lead up the entrance walkway by a rhythmic dance of stepping-stones or islands that merge into an image of a pond or body of water.
The walk up from the left side passes through a narrow passage of rocks and is inlaid with life size marble carvings of a school of cod.
This is the highest elevation and largest rock that all views and walks lead up to. It will feel solid and immovable. The Dedication plaque will be placed at eye level on the rock and the Memorial plaques with the names of the individuals will be placed below it on the waveform.
Dedication Plaque and Memorial Name Plaques
The Memorial Association will choose the Dedication plaque text. The Memorial Name plaques will be individual and placed in relation to the waveform below the Dedication plaque. They will include name, dates and organization. This is respectful, gives each individual a space and ensures that there will be no changes necessary to the existing arrangement as new names are added.
On the upper level left side a quiet area marked by a singular rock around which radiates a serene ripple. This ripple extends into a set of steps that open up onto the lawn. Stepping-stones lead out to a bench that is set at an angle related to the ripple.
The waveforms and steps of the Memorial create a wealth of informal seating possibilities. The entrance bench is perched at the entrance with a view of the total. This bench is convenient, accessible, highly visible and public and perhaps will be used by people who are waiting. The Swirl bench is in a more private, quiet and intimate setting and is geared for the use of the meditative or reflective visitor.
All materials will be from Newfoundland and Labrador. The sidewalk and waveforms will be concrete made of black aggregate, black pigment and cement. The rocks will be natural black marble. The stepping-stones will be bluestone with natural fossils and sedimentary waves. The fish will be carved from black marble. The pond will be a mosaic of labradorite tiles. The benches will be concrete with the top element in black marble. The sign, Dedication plaque and Memorial Name plaques will all be bronze.
Size of the Memorial Site
The size, to a degree, is variable. The following dimensions: 55 feet long extending along the existing sidewalk and a proportionate depth.
From the Memorial Site The Memorial does not impede the view. The horizontal layout allows the viewer to look right through the Memorial and relate it to the background of the sweeping view of the hills of St. John's rolling down to the harbor, or, to the Confederation Buildings. The Memorial's images of rocks and waves are integral to this environment and create a comfortable, and natural relationship.
To the Memorial Site
The Memorial appears open and invites viewing and entrance from all sides. It is physically and visually tied into the sidewalk and allows a flowing entrance from either direction. The Swirl entrance allows access from the grass area and creates a view from the bench and from the grass area behind that integrates the Memorial with the Confederation Buildings.
Use of the Memorial Site
The site has two main uses: a memorial to commemorate the officers who have died in the line of duty, and, a site that can host and serve as a focus for ceremonies. The layout of the site integrates the existing sidewalk and the large grass area. This allows for large public events with crowds that could circle the site and have easy access. The rising elevation of the levels leading up to the Pinnacle Rock provides a natural focus point with maximum visibility. The steps up to the Pinnacle Rock protect it from the crowds and passing pedestrians and give it a bit of isolation and respect. The quiet nature of the Swirl area is a balance to the open public side of the site.
The sign will be composed of individual bronze letters pinned to the foremost waveform. This will provide clear accessible identification of the site to all who pass or wish to find the site.
A covered light in the front grass area will light the sign. As well, a light will be built into the waveform wall facing and illuminating the Dedication plaque and Memorial Name plaques. We suggest that the current adjacent streetlight be removed and replaced with a light like the ones in front of the building.
Some of the work will be hired out to professionals: the sidewalks and all structural concrete work (in consultation with an engineer), the casting of the bronze sign letters, Dedication plaque and Memorial Name plaques, and all electrical wiring and lighting installation. Some of the work will be done by students/artists under Professor Foulds supervision: the form building and internal supportive metal work for the waveforms, finding, moving and installing the rocks and stepping-stones (with professional help where necessary), carving the fish, carving the bench tops and forming the concrete bases, installing the bronze letters and plaques, creating the Labradorite Pond mosaic.
An agreement was reached and an estimated total budget is for $ 118,921.60 for all materials and work. The design proposed is labor intensive and uses mostly inexpensive local materials. The cost of hiring students/artists will be very reasonable and as well, some funding can be applied for through student work programs.
The students/artists are hired and work is started on: the Pond mosaic, carved fish, bench tops, forms and internal metal work for wave forms, finding rocks and stepping stones. This will be done away from the site, at Grenfell College's sculpture area or a rented space. The engineer and concrete professional will be consulted and we will decide how to proceed with the site preparation and structural concrete work. This construction could possibly be done this fall. The sculptural work could then be completed over the winter and added to the site next summer. This schedule leaves the site incomplete and messy over the winter. Professor Foulds preference is to complete all of the preparation and off site work on the sculptural elements over the winter and then simultaneously construct the site and incorporate all of prepared.