Summerside, PEI - WWI Bronze Soldier Restoration - August, 2022

Soldier’s Monument in Memorial Square, Summerside
Beginning in February 1919, the public began to call for a monument to be erected to honour the men of Prince County who gave their lives in the Great War. During 1920 and 1921 there were alternate suggestions for memorials in the form of roads or buildings, but the initial desire for a monument prevailed and by December 1921 the monument for Dominion Square (now Memorial Square) was commissioned. The sculptor, Emanuel Hahn, submitted a model for consideration, which was accepted. Fundraising then began and in April 1922, a list of the names of Prince County men was published in the paper, with an invitation for the public to make additions or corrections.
In May 1922, an illustration of the monument appeared in a local newspaper, with this description: “The bronze figure stands 7 feet 6 inches high, heroic size. The base is of finest selected granite. This monument will express to the coming generations the gratitude and appreciation that Islanders felt for their valorous soldiers. It will contain the names of about 220 Prince County Soldiers who were killed in action or died in the service. This monument is to be paid for by popular subscription…” The arrival of the monument via railway car, from Thomson Memorial Works in Toronto, was recorded in the press on June 28th and the sculpture was placed on its base for unveiling on July 1st. Further information in the newspapers revealed the monument cost over $8000. Part of the description was as follows: “The bronze figure in heroic size represents a Canadian soldier dressed in battle order going over the top. Every detail of the figure is perfect and is most life-like. On the huge granite base is inscribed the names of two hundred and thirty-three Prince County men who made the sacrifice. The letters are leaded.” It was also stated that it was “one of the most beautiful in the Maritime Provinces.”
The stone plaque recording the names of local men who died during World War II, was placed at ground level in front of the monument in 1956. The monument was refurbished with the black plaques and the re-lettering in the spring of 1988. Further work to the base and surround was carried out in 2011.
[Brief summary prepared by Jean MacKay, MacNaught History Centre, Summerside, 2020]