Memorials and Honours

Memorials and honours. An examination of the ways in which Canadians have honoured their musicians, publicly and permanently, does not reveal - save in Quebec - a significant measure of gratitude; rather it points to neglect and forgetfulness.

An examination of the ways in which Canadians have honoured their musicians, publicly and permanently, does not reveal - save in Quebec - a significant measure of gratitude; rather it points to neglect and forgetfulness. Few Canadian musicians' names have been given to towns, streets, parks, halls, or buildings or have been honoured in memorials or plaques; postage stamps honouring music and musicians were issued for the first time only in 1977. Portraits, busts, memorial awards, and scholarships are encountered more frequently (see Art, visual; Awards), but these usually are initiated from within the profession and tend not to reflect recognition by the political community or the larger public. There are, however, exceptions to these general observations.

Calixa Lavallée, the composer of 'O Canada', is perhaps Canada's most commemorated musician, with a town (Calixa-Lavallée, previously Ste-Théodosie, near Verchères) and several streets (Montreal, Quebec City, St-Hyacinthe, etc) named in his honour, and a plaque placed on the site of the house (after it was destroyed by fire) in which he lived. The minuscule Lavallée monument in the Côte-des-Neiges Cemetery is a national disgrace. The custom of naming streets after noted persons in the arts has been established in a few Canadian cities, notably Montreal, where more than 30 musicians have been honoured, beginning with Rodolphe Plamondon (1911) and including Napoléon Legendre (1912), Alfred De Sève (1931), Alexis Contant (1962), and Emma Albani (1969; an earlier 'avenue Albani' disappeared in a realignment of streets). There are both streets and squares in Montreal named for Guillaume Couture and Joseph Casavant. Barbara Pentland is honoured in Kanata, Ont, as is the Family Brown in Nepean, Ont, and Arthur Thomas Bushby is commemorated in New Westminster, BC, and Victoria, BC. The Alexander Muir Memorial Gardens in Toronto were dedicated to the composer of 'The Maple Leaf For Ever', and in 1984 two Toronto parkettes were named for Ernest Seitz and Healey Willan. In Montreal there is a Place Boutet, named for Martin Boutet, and a park named for J.-J. Gagnier (1959); a street was named after Gagnier in 1963. In Toronto there is a Nordheimer Ravine, although the name is popular rather than official. Toronto also has a park named for Jan Sibelius, complete with a monument to the Finnish composer. Another monument to Sibelius may be found on Île Ste-Hélène, Montreal. An island in the Northwest Territories is named for the Swedish soprano Jenny Lind. Other world figures in music have had streets named in their honour: over a dozen in Montreal, at least three in Toronto, and six in a single subdivision in North York (Metropolitan Toronto).

Mount Manny in New Brunswick commemorates the collector Louise Manny, Barbeau Peak in the Canadian Arctic the collector Marius Barbeau, Mount Arthur-LeBlanc, east of Chicoutimi, Que, the violinist Arthur LeBlanc, and Waterhouse Bay, Charleswood, Man, the violinist John Waterhouse. Buildings and halls, if they bear family names, traditionally have been named for donors (eg, the Malkin Bowl, Massey Hall, and, in Halifax, the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium). However, a number in recent years have been named for musicians: Brunton Hall, at the Marjorie Young Bell Conservatory, Mount Allison University, for James Noel Brunton, head of the conservatory 1919-36 (the conservatory also houses the Alfred Whitehead Memorial Music Library); Eva Clare Hall, University of Manitoba; the Robert Cringan Hall, Earl Haig Collegiate Institute, Toronto, for the music teacher and grandson of A.T. Cringan; the Leonard Leacock Theatre, Mount Royal College; Harrison-Le Caine Hall, Queen's University; MacMillan Theatre, Walter Hall, and the Geiger-Torel rehearsal room in the Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto; the Boris Roubakine Auditorium, Banff CA; the Roubakine Hall, University of Calgary; and the Lorne Watson Recital Hall at Brandon University. In the province of Quebec, halls also have been named in honour of François Brassard (in Jonquière), Rolland Brunelle (in Joliette), Gabriel Cusson (in Montreal), Maurice Dela (in Chambly and, by Dela's name at birth, Albert Phaneuf, in St-Hubert), Jean Deslauriers (in Montreal), Henri Gagnon (in Quebec City), Yvonne Hubert (in Montreal), Gilles Lefebvre (at the JMC Orford Art Centre), Germaine Malépart (in Montreal), André Mathieu (in Laval), Rodolphe Mathieu (in Trois-Rivières), André Prévost (in St-Jérome), and Antonio Thompson (in Trois-Rivières). The Anne Murray Centre, opened in the singer's home town, Springhill, NS, in 1989, essentiallly as a tourist attraction, holds many of the singer's personal and professional effects. Two of the Canadian Music Centre libraries have been named to honour musicians: the Ettore Mazzoleni Library in Toronto, and the Violet Archer Library in Calgary; the library at the Faculty of Music, McGill University, was named to honour Marvin Duchow in 1980; and the music library at Queen's University was named after Graham George in 1983. In 1988 the COC named its archives in honour of the founder Joan Baillie. Canadian public schools have been named for Marius Barbeau, Vernon Barford, Claude Champagne, Guillaume Couture, Gladys Egbert, Calixa Lavallée, Félix Leclerc, Sir Ernest MacMillan, Alexander Muir, Wilfrid Pelletier, and the Calgary musicologist Dr E.P. Scarlett.

Plaques marking buildings where famous musicians were born or died are rare. No such identification marks the house on rue Couillard in Quebec City where Lavallée lived when he wrote 'O Canada,' or Sir Ernest MacMillan's birthplace or his Park Road residence in Toronto (although the latter was designated a building of historic interest in 1979), or Healey Willan's residence on Inglewood Drive (Toronto). However, a plaque marks the site of the house on rue Martel in Chambly where Emma Albani was born, and plaques in Cobourg and Guelph, Ont, proclaim those cities the birthplaces of, respectively, Marie Dressler and Edward Johnson. In 1979 a plaque also was placed on the First Lutheran Church in Toronto to commemorate Theodore August Heintzman; in 1989 plaques were unveiled at Massey Hall to honour MacMillan, and at the Church of St Mary Magdalene to commemorate Willan. Three songs have been commemorated by plaques: one on Nebo Rd near Burlington, Ont, on the grounds of the childhood home of Maggie Clark, whose memory is perpetuated in 'When You and I Were Young, Maggie'; one marking the grave (near Port Hope, Ont) of Joseph Medlicott Scriven (1819-86), the author of the poem 'Pray without Ceasing,' later set to music as 'What a Friend We Have in Jesus'; and one at the grave (Fergus, Ont) of George Clephane, whose death is believed to have moved his sister Elizabeth to write the poem 'The Ninety and Nine,' later set to music by the US evangelist Ira D. Sankey. A 'Walk of Stars' at the Savoy Theatre in Sydney, NS, was initiated with Rita MacNeil's name. Canadian country music is served by a hall of fame opened in 1989 in Kitchener, Ont (see Country music). Two other 'halls,' the Juno Awards Hall of Fame (introduced in 1978) and the CCMA Hall of Honor (established in 1984) offer titular recognition only. Several historic halls - sites of musical events - have been given recognition with plaques: St Lawrence Hall, the Sharon Temple, Massey Hall, and the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

The first Canadian musical stamps were issued in 1977. Three stamps of different value depicted Canada's first Christmas carol, 'Jesous Ahatonhia'. Stamps honouring Canadian musicians were issued in pairs in 1980. One pair carried a portrait of Emma Albani on one stamp and a portrait of Healey Willan on the other. The other pair marked the 100th anniversary of 'O Canada' with, on one stamp, illustrations of Lavallée, Routhier, and Weir and, on the other, the opening bar of the song. A single stamp was issued in 1981 to mark 'The Look of Music' exhibition of rare antique musical instruments at the Vancouver Centennial Museum; and in 1984 a stamp celebrated the 50th anniversary of the MSO. The Royal Canadian Mint struck a special gold coin in 1981 to commemorate 'O Canada.'

The memories of revered church musicians have been honoured in various ways: eg, Herbert Sadler (Westminster United Church, Winnipeg) and Vernon Barford (All Saints Cathedral, Edmonton) by memorial organs, Filmer Hubble (St Stephen's Broadway United Church, Winnipeg) and A.S. Vogt (St Paul's Anglican Church, Toronto) by stained glass windows (the Vogt window donated by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir), and Henri Kew Jordan (Brant Avenue United Church, Brantford, Ont) and Cyril F. Musgrove (Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Winnipeg) by plaques.

Among other memorials to Canadian musicians are a headstone set in 1964 at the previously unmarked grave of Marie Toulinguet in Twillingate, Nfld, and a water fountain, in Stratford, Ont, with a carved inscription to W.J. Freeland, Stratford's first school music director. In the PDA subway station in Montreal is a wall-sized, back-lighted glass memorial mural representing the major musical figures of Montreal, including Albani, Champagne, Mercure, and many others.

See also Order of Canada and under various universities for honorary degrees.