Complementing the local war memorials built by communities across the province, the Albert Memorial Bridge in Regina was Saskatchewan’s first war memorial erected on behalf of the public. It was constructed as a make-work project at the start of the Depression, and many of the 1,302 men who built it were unemployed veterans of World War I. Dedicated on November 10, 1930, the bridge cost $250,000 to build and was nearly two and a half times over budget; despite this expense, the bridge remains incomplete as a memorial to fallen soldiers who served in World War I. The Honourable James F. Bryant, then provincial Minister of Works and the person largely responsible for the bridge’s construction, intended for the government or some organization to raise funds for commemorative plaques inscribed with the names of the province’s war dead. Once struck, the bronze tablets were to be installed on the inner face of the large pylons located at each end of the structure. Yet this never happened, even though the Albert Memorial Bridge was re-dedicated on October 2, 1988, after a $1.4 million restoration. The recesses in the pylons remain empty today.
However, Bryant’s promise of honouring Saskatchewan’s veterans was finally realized sixty-five years later. On November 10, 1995, the Saskatchewan First World War Memorial, located west of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building in Regina, was officially dedicated. Prominently displayed on several bronze plaques are the names of the 5,348 men and women from Saskatchewan killed during the war. Designed by Regina architect Bill Henderson, the monument stands on the former site of a memorial statue honouring the 28th (North-West) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. This statue now forms the left corner of the First World War Memorial. In 2000, the committee of the Saskatchewan War Memorial Project began planning a second provincial war monument. Similar in design to the First World War Memorial, it will feature the names of almost 5,000 Saskatchewanians killed in World War II, the Korean War, and postwar peacekeeping and military operations. It will be built immediately south of the existing memorial, and is slated for completion and dedication during the province’s centennial year.
Lloyd Jones, Holden Stoffel