In 1992 the Canadian Memorial Foundation commissioned a work to be created in memory of over one million Canadians who served with the British during the two world wars, 110,000 of whom lost their lives. A competition for the commission was held with a jury presided over by Conrad Black, now Lord Black of Crossharbour. This notable Canadian figure, born in Montreal and influential in the media world, was the Foundation's co-president at the time.
The Foundation invited artists to enter the contest in July 1992 and, from among the six finalists, Pierre Granche's project was chosen. Lord Black of Crossharbour took the initiative of raising money in Canada for the monument's construction and upkeep, which was supplemented by a contribution from Great Britain. That the committee should chose an artist living and working in Quebec was regarded at the time as a surprise, especially in the early 1990s, when the nation's political duality was more pronounced than at present.