Books of Remembrance
The first seven Books of Remembrance commemorate the lives of the more than 118,000 Canadians who have given their lives while serving our country. The eighth Book of Remembrance - the War of 1812 Book of Remembrance - was unveiled in 2019. It was commissioned to mark the 200th anniversary of the signing of the peace treaty ending that conflict - the Treaty of Ghent.
The original Books of Remembrance are usually stored in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa but are now temporarily located in the Room of Remembrance at the Visitor Welcome Centre during the Centre Block renovations. Every morning the pages of the eight books are turned - each page of each book is turned once a year.
The Legislative Library at Ontario's Parliament has copies of four of the Books of Remembrance - the First World War Book of Remembrance, the Second World War Book of Remembrance, the Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance, and the Newfoundland Book of Remembrance.
The First World War Book of Remembrance contains more than 66,000 names and was the first Book of Remembrance created. Artists James Purves from London, Ontario and Alan Beddoe from Ottawa used many rare materials in its design, and it took them 11 years to complete.
The Second World War Book of Remembrance, shown here on display in the lobby of Ontario's Legislative Building in 2019, contains more than 44,000 names of Canadians who died during the war. Artist Alan Beddoe from Ottawa created the book. In addition to the names of those who lost their lives, he included pages commemorating particular actions, battles, and places that were significant to Canadians during the war.
The Newfoundland Book of Remembrance commemorates those Newfoundlanders who gave their lives during the First and Second World Wars—before Newfoundland joined Confederation on 1 April 1949. Those listed are from all three branches of the military—the Navy, Air Force and Army. The Book includes memorials of First World War campaigns such as Gallipoli and Beaumont-Hamel and Second World War campaigns, like North Africa, Italy, and Northwest Europe. It contains more than 2,300 names and was installed in the Memorial Chamber in 1973.
The Marine Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance In this book are recorded the names of those gallant Canadians and Newfoundlanders formerly serving in the merchant marine who gave their lives for freedom while serving in the Great War, 1914-1918, and in the Second World War, 1939-1945. Their supreme sacrifice in both wars ensured the lifeline of men and of supplies without which victory could not have been ours and without which we would not now enjoy freedom; from 1939 to 1945 in the Second World War, the Battle of Atlantic in which they fought so bravely was the longest battle in all history. The original Books of Remembrance are kept in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa.