The Mannequin & the Diary Activity 2: Symbols of Sacrifice & the Emerging Canadian Identity in WWI

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Grade Level: Grade 8 and up
Subject: Social Studies, Canadian History, Art, Remembrance Day Activities

Materials needed:

  • scrap paper for brainstorming image
  • good quality drawing paper
  • pencils
  • coloured pencils
  • access to computer/high speed internet


  • Students will understand the importance of symbols to creating a national narrative.
  • Students will be able to analysis the meaning of symbols in Canadian national identity.

In Video 5 (Going Home) of Activity 1, students examined the ‘Death Penny’ and learned what the lion and eagle represented. Symbols are an important way of expressing a national identity. Brainstorm some iconic images associated with the Canadian identity.

Before students begin this activity, investigate the meaning of some of Canada’s more important symbols.

2.1 Regimental symbols

The 159th Battalion (later the Algonquin Regiment) from northern Ontario chose a moose to represent their battalion. Colonel Armstrong, who was placed in charge of recruitment for the newly formed battalion, thought having a ‘Northern Canadian backwoods mascot’ was just the thing the 159th Battalion needed. He believed that fostering a strong sense of Northern identity and pride would swell the ranks of his fledgling regiment.

1. Visit the website below and pick one of the military badges. Describe what you think the symbol and design represent and why it might be appropriate for the battalion.

2. Design a different military badge for the regiment you selected in question above. Draw the symbol and write a 50 - 75 word paragraph explaining what your symbol represents and why it might attract recruits to your regiment.

2.2 Regimental Mascots

Many modern sports teams have mascots – brainstorm some examples.

There is also a long tradition of regimental mascots. In the ‘Themes and Images’ section of this exhibit, there were two examples of regimental mascots: the Princess Patricia’s collie dog and the 159th Battalion’s moose and bear.

1. Pick one of the above examples and explain why it was a fitting mascot for the battalion.

2. There were many different battalions who went to fight for Canada in WWI. Select one from the British Badge forum visited above and choose an appropriate mascot for that battalion. Provide an explanation for why it is a good choice.

1. Name of battalion or regiment or company:
2. Mascot chosen:
3. Why is your mascot appropriate for the regiment?