Team Lashley + JMA is proud to submit its concept for the National Monument for Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan, as one of five finalist teams in this national competition. The design can be viewed online, with public input by filling out a short survey. This consultation stage will assist the jury in evaluating the proposals.

To review the finalists’ designs, visit the Government of Canada Competition website.

The core team, of David Lashley (Ottawa • Montreal), John MacDonald (Kitchener), and Sandra Dunn (Kitchener), has worked these last months to design a monument that honours those who served. It supports meaningful discussion and thoughtful contemplation of Canada’s’ role in our World, and the Mission’s complex legacy for Canada, for participants, and for Afghanistan.

The Monument draws on the concept of “Shura”, a traditional gathering of elders for the purpose of local or national conflict resolution and decision by consensus. Canadian Military engaged in shuras in an effort to move beyond our security role, to a place of stability where lasting progress could be made. These face-to-face meetings were a highly effective way to communicate Canada’s efforts to help, to create mutual bonds of trust and respect, and to gauge local perceptions of our foreign presence.

The Monument has three main components:  a semi-circular Plaza, a delicate but robust sweep of Wings, and five commemorative Plinths.  These elements form and interact with a carefully designed landscape setting.

  • The Plaza’s richly textured surface is inspired by the CADPAT-AR camouflage pattern of the Canadian military uniforms. It embodies both the complex and shifting landscape of the Mission, and the Canadian network of diplomats, aid workers and other civilian government officials who, with the military, engaged in the monumental effort to turn a landscape of conflict into one of hope.
  • The Wings are meant to capture a moment when potential is converted into action and possibility. They are formed from 165 vertical steel blades tipped with cast glass. They complete the design’s principal gathering space, and they honour the Canadians who gave their lives. Visitors will be keenly aware as they stand shoulder to shoulder with those who sacrificed so much, and they participate in shaping the ongoing dialogue regarding the significance of Canada’s largest and most comprehensive internation development mission.
  • The Plinths commemorate the major groups of extraordinary Canadians who performed noble tasks to the highest standards of their professions and under very difficult circumstances. Brass words cast into concrete suggest not only values, but honest dialogue about the realities of the situation in Afghanistan.
  • The composition’s Landscape punctuate the urban and memorial style of the National Capital’s LeBreton Flats Booth St corridor evoking memories of the textures and colours of Afghan meadows, plains, trees and hills. It portrays the stark simplicity of the Afghan countryside and stone buildings memorializing the place of the Mission.

In reflecting upon the team’s journey thus far, John MacDonald says: “Our collaboration and intense design research in these past months have greatly enriched us. We’ve tried to place ourselves within the Mission and with its participants and their families. Our design reflects this journey and portrays both the complexity of the Mission and the values for which Canadians strive and sacrifice, as we move beyond conflict to reconciliation and hope.”

Sandra Dunn

is a craft based Canadian artist. A graduate from the University of Waterloo, she established a full-time blacksmithing practice in 1993. Seven years later she founded Two Smiths, a design and prototyping studio located in Kitchener, Ontario. The firm has developed and built a wide variety of sculptures, functional objects and architectural features in forged steel, hammered copper and bronze, for both private and public spaces.

David Lashley

is an award-winning Canadian landscape architect responsible for landscape architectural design of many significant sites in the Canada’s National Capital Region. A graduate from the University of Guelph, started his career in 1974 in the Maritimes and has been practicing in the National Capital Region since 1979. He is principal of Lashley + Associates, founded in Ottawa in 1986 and in Montreal in 2016. The firm’s work focuses on complex and unique projects and commissions of all scales in Eastern Canada, and especially in the National Capital Region.

John MacDonald

is the founder and principal of John MacDonald Architect (JMA), a design consultancy based in the Grand River watershed of Southwestern Ontario. The firm’s twenty-five years of experience involves projects of varying scales, with a focus on leadership for complex new and adaptive re-use projects requiring interdisciplinary approaches and collaborative associations.

The team membership includes

  • Sandra Dunn, visual artist and blacksmith, and her talented team at Two Smiths, based in Kitchener, ON;
  • John MacDonald and staff at John MacDonald Architect, an architectural design studio based in the Grand River Watershed at Kitchener, ON;
  • David Lashley and senior staff at Lashley + Associates, a landscape architecture firm based in the National Capital Region at Ottawa, ON and in Montreal, QC;
  • Gabriel Mackinnon Lighting Design, a renowned lighting design firm based in Ottawa as well;
  • Graeme Smith, Canadian journalist and author;
  • Bram Porter, a veteran of the Mission and collaborator at Sandra’s Two Smiths studio;
  • the structural division of MTE Consultants, of Kitchener, ON;
  • the Ottawa offices of
    • Marshall & Murray, cost consultants;
    • Parsons, specifically its Ottawa civil design office; and
    • VanderWesten & Rutherford Consulting Engineers, and its Ottawa electrical engineering group.

For all inquiries about this project, the competition process, timelines, next steps, etc., contact PCH Media Relations:

Canadian Heritage

For further information regarding John MacDonald Architect and this release, or for interview request, contact John MacDonald, OAA, MRAIC, Principal of the firm Kitchener tel (519) 579-1700, mobile (519) 588-8197  (Grand River Watershed)

Suite 101, The Courtyard@BonnieStuart, 141 Whitney Place, Kitchener, ON, N2G 2X8

For further information regarding Lashley + Associates, or for interview request, contact David Lashley, BLA, OALA, AAPQ, CSLA, Principal of the firm Ottawa office tel (613) 233-8579 x101 (Ottawa and Montreal)

202-950 Gladstone Ave, Ottawa, ON K1Y 3E6

For further information regarding Sandra Dunn (Two Smiths), or for interview request, contact Sandra Dunn, lead artist Kitchener tel (519) 571-9538 (Grand River Watershed)

8 Grand Ave. Kitchener, ON N2K 1B3


  1. View within Monument. Plaza.jpg*
  2. Close up View of Plaza – Wings, Gathering & Landscape.jpg*
  3. Place of Personal Reflection.jpg*

*copyrighted jpeg images that may be used with acknowledged credit to the Lashley + JMA team