Firefighters’ National Memorial Day
Canadian Firefighters Memorial Ceremony
Sunday, September 8 - 10:00 AM till Noon
Corner of Wellington and Lett Street, Ottawa
First Firefighter from Nunavut -- and 89 Other Canadians -- to Be Honoured on Firefighters’ National Memorial Day
OTTAWA – The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, will deliver the keynote address to honour Canadian firefighters who died in the line of duty at the 16th Canadian Firefighters Annual Memorial Ceremony on Sunday, September 8.
Flags will fly at half-mast on Firefighters’ National Memorial Day, the annual day of honour as all firefighters across Canada are recognized for their sacrifice, dedication, and bravery, particularly the fallen.
Ten families of the fallen, from all parts of Canada, will come together at the Canadian Firefighters Memorial in Ottawa’s LeBreton Flats, including the Inuit family of the late Captain Lutie Macpa of Pond Inlet, Nunavut.
Captain Macpa is the first firefighter from Nunavut to die in the line of duty, a sacrifice being recognized by Nunavut’s Minister of Community and Government Services, the Honourable Lorne Gusugak, and Pond Inlet Fire Chief, Jollie Enoogoo, among many others from Nunavut, attending the Memorial and staying by the side of Captain Macpa’s family.
Captain Macpa’s wife, Sheeba and one-year-old daughter Louise, will accept an honourary fire helmet from Minister McKenna and Canadian Fallen Firefighter Foundation president David Sheen at the Memorial on Sunday. Attending with Mrs. Macpa will be her brother-in-law Elisha Kasarnak, also a firefighter in Pond Inlet. Captain Macpa is the father of seven children.
Three firefighters from British Columbia, one from Saskatchewan, three from Ontario, one from Quebec, and one from Newfoundland will also be honoured alongside the Macpa family.
Hosted annually by the CFFF, hundreds of firefighters from each of the provinces and territories will attend the ceremony in a show of solidarity and commemoration. While ten families are receiving honourary helmets and medallions this year, 80 other names will be read out and inscribed on the Memorial wall. Many of the fallen succumbed to a variety of illnesses now recognized as a high risk for the firefighter profession.
“All Canadians are deeply grateful to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line daily to keep us safe. This memorial provides our community with a way to pay our respects to those firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice. We are deeply grateful for their heroism and I’m glad that through this memorial we’re able to reaffirm our promise that their sacrifice—and that of their loved ones—is never forgotten,” said Minister McKenna. “Firefighters’ National Memorial Day allows us to honour the lives lost to protect the safety of others.”
The 2019 Memorial Ceremony is co-hosted by the Manitoba Fire Service.
On Firefighters’ National Memorial Day, the entire Canadian Fire Service pays tribute to those who have died with the ringing of a bell, the presentation of a ceremonial helmet and medallion to each of the attending families, and a final salute. As of 2019, the Memorial Wall has the inscribed names of 1,529 Canadians, heroes who paid the ultimate price to protect their fellow citizens, including the 90 names added this year.
The Memorial Ceremony is steeped in tradition that is 200 years old. The Ringing of the Bell respects the past when firefighters were summoned to fight fires and placed their lives in jeopardy for the good of their fellow citizens. “When the fire was out, it was a bell that signalled the completion of the call,” said David Sheen, CFFF president. “If a firefighter died in the line of duty, it was the toll of the bell, three rings three times that solemnly announced a comrade’s passing.”
ABOUT THE CANADIAN FIREFIGHTERS MEMORIAL
The Canadian Firefighters Memorial is a permanent and public commemoration that honours the sacrifice of every Canadian firefighter who has died in the line of duty since 1848.
The Memorial’s design features a six-metre statue of a bronze firefighter, with his right arm outstretched, and his index finger pointing to a granite wall. The wall spans a conceptual map of Canada, the provinces and territories, with its surface scored with the names of 1,529 Canadian fallen firefighters, near the location they died protecting. An 18-metre high fire pole stands beside the bronze statue with its casting including brass couplings proudly sent in by fire departments from across Canada.
At the top of the site, on a granite-wrapped embankment, is a lone pine tree, selected for its resilience, longevity, its tolerance of heat and extreme climate changes. The site is populated with sugar maple trees planted alongside seasonally changing shrubs and perennials that all turn to a deep red in the fall and create a thick red carpet of foliage symbolizing the red retardant dropped by aerial forest firefighters.
Parking for media is reserved on the north side of Wellington Street, across from the monument.
For more information:
416 277 6281