The Monument Design
The Design for The Volunteers/Les Bénévoles
Photos: Bruce Bottomley
The Volunteers/Les Bénévoles is the first monument with full-sized bronze figures of women in Halifax’s history. It honors the work of thousands of women who volunteered during the Second World War. They have never been honored, but their work was extensive, varied and vital. Read about their story here.
The design, by well-known Canadian artist Marlene Hilton Moore was chosen in a national competition.
The three figures represent — an African Nova Scotia canteen worker with her tray (far left), an older woman with her Mi’kmaw basket containing knitting (far right) and a young girl with her wagon piled with salvage items (foreground).
Woman with Knitting
Hundreds of thousands of women supported the troops by knitting massive quantities of socks, caps, sweaters and other badly- needed comfort items. The Canadian Red Cross estimates that 750,000 volunteers knit 50 million articles during the Second World War.
African Nova Scotian Woman
Women fed more than 100,000 servicemen who passed through Halifax on their way to the war in Europe. Meals were one of the most important services women provided. The woman figure is helping serve meals to black servicemen. Canteens and clubs were segregated.