On November 11th, 2020, a monument was unveiled on the northwest side on the grounds of Queen’s Park to honour the Canadian soldiers who served during the mission in Afghanistan - Canada’s largest military deployment since the Second World War. Over 40000 Canadians served in the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014. The memorial is located next to the Ontario Veterans’ Memorial, completed in 2006, which commemorates the participation of the province’s citizens in military campaigns from the 1860s to recent peacekeeping missions, as well as those who continue to serve today.
Both the Ontario Veterans’ Memorial and the Afghanistan Memorial feature military scenes etched in granite. The Ontario Veterans’ Memorial is also inscribed with text written by poet Jane Urquhart and military historian Professor Jack Granatstein.
A red maple tree is planted behind the Veterans’ Memorial wall. The annual falling of its bright red leaves in autumn symbolizes the sacrifices of those who served, and continue to serve, in the Canadian Armed Forces.
The Afghanistan Memorial also includes a bronze component in a folded and ribbon-like form, which symbolizes the first Canadian involvement during 9/11, beginning with supporting those who were stranded at Canadian airports after the World Trade Center attacks, and the unfolding of events in the years since.
When viewed from its north side, the Afghanistan Memorial’s top-line recalls the silhouette of the mountains east of Panjwai, Afghanistan, which Canadian soldiers saw as the backdrop from the Forward Operating Base at Masum Ghar. When viewed from the south, the tallest element creates a frame with the edge of the bronze end wall of the Ontario Veterans’ Memorial. When looked at together, these two tall framing elements evoke the forms of the World Trade Center twin towers.
The Afghanistan Memorial also includes a stone from an Inukshuk dedicated to the fallen soldiers – it was erected by Canadian soldiers at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.