The walk route takes us down some stairs, but there is a ramp available with a short detour.
Canada's relationship with war and the role of its military has changed rapidly over the past decade. Our role in the latest Afghan War and our current lack of influence at the UN affirms that the common notion of Canada as a peacekeeping nation is an obsolete romanticized nostalgia.
This Jane’s Walk will take participants to Ottawa’s renowned war monuments including the Peacekeeping Memorial, the Valiants' Memorial, and the Boer War Memorial – while observing local architectural marvels including the old Grand Trunk Railway station, the Chateau Laurier, and the Connaught Building.
At each memorial, previously untold stories of the War in Afghanistan will show how the international mission has made everyday life in places like Kabul and Kandahar much more violent. Stories of peaceful moments of Afghanistan's history, and painful truths from Canada's role in this war will reveal that that we have much to learn from our Afghan experience. Discussion and stories from fellow walkers will be encouraged..
To find out more about the war in Afghanistan and Canada's role:
Thomas Barfield Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History
Graeme Smith The Dogs are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan
Rory Stewart The Places in Between
Eugene Lang & Janice Gross Stein The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar
The walk will begin at the Peacekeeping Memorial in front of the National Gallery. From there, we will proceed through Major's Hill Park to the Valiants' Memorial, and then down the stairs/ramp to the canal path, ending at the Boer War Memorial at Confederation Park.
Andrew Conte is an international aid and development worker, storyteller, and graduate of Carleton's Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. He lived in Kandahar City from 2007 to 2008 implementing Canadian reconstruction and development projects. The Illuminated War Walk is an important one to share because the dominant Canadian narrative of our legacy in Afghanistan deserves a more honest assessment --- anything less would be a disservice to veterans, as well as to soldiers and civilians who will risk their lives elsewhere in the future.