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Friday, April 1, 2016

Renovations to close National War Memorial for 7 months

Written by David Pugliese, The Ottawa Citizen, April 1, 2016

The National War Memorial on Elgin Street will be off limits to the public beginning the second week of April as the 77-year-old monument undergoes a second round of repairs and renovations.

The $3.2-million project will fix damaged concrete slabs and paving around the monument and refurbish the iconic bronze statues.

The work is expected to be complete by early November, in time for Remembrance Day. Throughout the work, measures will be taken to preserve and protect the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from damage. Workers will also try to minimize the impact on pedestrian and car traffic around the memorial.

The work is the second phase of renovations that began in 2014 when the monument was again closed to the public for months while workers repaired the concrete and reinforcing steel in a crawl space underneath. That work cost $2.975 million.

The current contract was awarded to Atwill-Morin Group of Montreal, which has also done restoration work on the Parliament buildings and Quebec City’s National Assembly.

With the slated construction, the sentry program, where two military members stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, will not occur this season. The Ottawa Police Service, which has a paid-duty contract to provide security for the unarmed sentries after Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was gunned down at the memorial on Oct. 22, 2014, will also not guard the site.

The War Memorial was designed by English sculptor Vernon March and officially dedicated in 1939 by King George VI to commemorate Canadian sacrifice in the First World War. It has since been rededicated to include the Second World War, Korea and the war in Afghanistan.