The Neighbourhood Called ‘Little Canada’

1 — Trafalgar Square

When the magnificent Trafalgar Square and the Nelson Monument were first designed there were no plans for fountains. As you look across the square today it is as if the fountains you see have been there for ever. Not true. In fact, fountains were added to break up the open space in case of public demonstrations. Designed by Sir Charles Barry, they were fed by an artesian well and run by steam engines, which were controlled from a room behind the National Gallery. In the late 1930s, Edwin Lutyens was commissioned to design larger replacements. The first fountains used on Trafalgar Square were acquired by the National Art Collection Fund of Britain. They were presented as a gift to Canada in 1948. Those originals are now found in Ottawa and Regina. The Regina fountain is at the Wascana Centre. The Ottawa fountain is in Confederation Park and is a memorial to Lieutenant Colonel John By, who founded Ottawa (back in the day it was called Bytown, after him).

Trafalgar Square fountains
Trafalgar Square fountains

2 — The Canada Club

Canadian fur traders, while wintering in London, founded The Canada Club in 1810. The club has held regular meetings for formal dinners and debates at The Savoy Hotel on the Strand every year since — the only exception being during World War II.

3 — Canadian Pacific Building

Canadian Pacific Building is right across the street from Canada House at 62-65 Trafalgar Square. Its clock tower, along with the bell tower of St Martin-in-the-Fields, are the only two clocks that overlook Trafalgar Square.

4 — Warwick House

Slightly further along Pall Mall at Warwick House is the Grand Trunk Railway building. Look up and you will see the crests of Canada’s provinces set into the stonework and, underneath, the name The Canadian National Railway, which took over the Grand Trunk after it fell into financial difficulty. Today, CN’s North American network spans 32,000km of track including 80 warehouses and distribution facilities.

In Green Park are two monuments to Canada, each with very different histories:

5 — Canada Gate

Canada Gate in Green Park across from Buckingham Palace was presented to London by Canada in 1905 as part of a memorial to Queen Victoria. Made as a screen of gilded wrought iron hung between two Portland stone pillars, it forms the entrance, which faces the Queen Victoria Memorial.

6 — Canada War Memorial

The Canada War Memorial, also in Green Park, beside the Canada Gate, was unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1994, in memory of the Canadians who served with British forces during the two World Wars. The narrow walkway dividing the memorial faces the port of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the departure point for the thousands of Canadian service personnel who travelled to serve in Europe.

Related Stories