MACKENZIE - PAPINEAU BATTALION
Memorial rock and plaque, west side of the Ontario Legislature at Queen’s Park, Toronto
The memorial to the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion honours the Canadian volunteers who fought for democracy in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and is appropriately located next to the historic ensemble honouring William Lyon Mackenzie. The plaque is mounted on a massive granite rock donated by the Spanish Government on behalf of the people of Spain. The rock came from the Gandesa battleground where Canadians engaged in bitter combat with the forces of General Francisco Franco, who was supported by Nazi Germany and fascist Italy.
The unveiling on 4 June 1995 was conducted by the Hon. David Warner, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, on behalf of the then Minister of Canadian Heritage Michel Dupuy. Also participating were Thomas H.B. Symons, then chair of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Jose Zorilla, Consul-General of Spain, Albina Guarnieri, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Paul Skup of the Friends of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion, and Bill Kardash, a veteran of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion. The presence of government officials and the erection of similar monuments in Victoria, B.C. and in Ottawa signified formal recognition of the heroic contribution of the Mac-Pap volunteers in the opening stages of the struggle to defeat world fascism.