OCdts. On Parade

Currie Hall, built in 1922 is on the Registry of Historic Places of Canada.

Researched by: E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC 2003)

This hall was built just after the end of the First World War by Sir Archibald Cameron Macdonell, when he was Commandant of the College. The hall is a memorial to the Canadian Corps. The Currie Building is an annex to the Mackenzie Building at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario.

The building was named in honour of Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie, who is a National Historic Person of Canada. At the official opening of Currie Hall at Royal Military College on 17 May 1922, General Sir Arthur Currie remarked: “I cannot tell you how utterly embarrassed and yet how inexpressibly proud I am to witness this ceremony, and to be present when this hall is officially opened. This hall is to commemorate the deeds of our fellow comrades whom it was my great honour and privilege to command during the latter years of the War. It is a pleasure to look around and see the crests and battle colours of every unit that fought in France; and they remind me of the supreme effort of Canada, and they tell something of how Canada responded to the call to arms.” 6647 Major Mitchell Kryzanowski (RMC 1965) wrote Currie Hall: Memorial to the Canadian Corps (Kingston: Hewson and White, 1989).

The Baronial Hall or Currie Hall, which was designed in 1922 by Percy Erskine Nobbs to honour the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War I plays a prominent role in the life of the University. During special events, invited speakers and dignitaries may address the University population or general public from the Great Hall.

Many conferences held in Kingston, Ontario may book the halls for lectures or presentations. The initials of Canada Corps commanders General Sir Arthur Currie (1915-1916); Sir Edwin Alderson (1915-16), and Sir Julian Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy (1916-17) are emblazoned on the c eiling of Currie Hall. In addition the initials of prominent figures such as Sir Henry Edward Burstall are emblazoned on the ceiling of Currie Hall. The badges and battle patches belonging to the units of the four divisions of the Canada Corps and the cavalry brigade at the moment of the World War I armistice adorn 132 oak panels on the face of the gallery. Nineteen coats of arms tell the story of Canada’s experience during World War I. The first four brigades of the Canada Corps trained in Valcartier and Quebec City. The Corps landed in Devonport in Plymouth Sound. After spending the winter on the Salisbury Plain, they crossed to France. The corps returned to Canada through the ports of Boulogne-sur-Mer, Paris and London.

In 1947, Emily Warren’s two large canvasses 6’6″ x 11’6″, entitled “Canada’s Tribute,” were hung in the Sir Arthur Currie Memorial Hall at RMC. The paintings depict the 52 sets of colours being placed for safekeeping on the Wolfe Monument in Westminster Abbey. The paintings were initially hung in the Parliament Buildings.

In 2010, thirty one paintings of Canadian war memorials by F.A. (Tex) Dawson were unveiled outside Currie Hall.

The memorial staircase at the entrance to Currie Hall features the pictures of 358 RMC grads including Captain Matthew Dawe and Captain Nicola Goddard who have died in the line of duty.

Outside Currie Hall stained glass windows relate to the history of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, Navy League Cadets and Navy League Wrennetts. Donated as a tribute to all national presidents of the Navy League of Canada for the proven love of country in promoting patriotism… seapower … youth training, the window bestows ‘Honour and Glory to patriotic citizens who have and will serve Canada.’ The window features images of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, Navy League Cadet Corps and Navy League Wrennette Corp. In memory of David H. Gibson, C.B.E. National President, Navy League of Canada, 1938-1952 a stained glass window features images of a young sailor and God behind the ships’ wheel. The window is dedicated to Canadians who in defence of the country went down to the sea in ships. The window includes a poem by H.R. Gillarm: “Proudly in ships they sailed to sea. Ahead their goal, perhaps eternity. But with God as their pilot they had no fear facing all danger as their course was clear. Their cargo? The record of their life. Some good, some bad, some peace, some strife.”

The space under Currie Hall was initially used as a mechanical engineering shop, was later converted by Commandant Charles Francis Constantine in 1925-30 into a drafting room.

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