Founder of Calgary’s Field of Crosses awarded honorary degree

The Field of Crosses is a big part of observing Remembrance Day for thousands of Calgarians, and now the man who founded it 10 years ago has been recognized for his work on the project.

Philanthropist Murray McCann received an honorary degree Friday, during a convocation ceremony at Mount Royal University.

“I was really overwhelmed with the honour,” McCann said. “Just humbled.”

The Field of Crosses contains more than 3,400 crosses, each representing a southern Albertan who died serving Canada.


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McCann wanted to create a place where Calgarians could pay tribute to the fallen, and his foundation has supported the event every year for the last decade.

“I’ve had a good life, because of freedoms I’ve had in this country,” McCann said.

“People gave up their lives so that I could live this life.”

MRU awarded McCann an honorary bachelor of nursing degree.

“(That degree) is extra special to me, because my late wife of 38 years and mother of my five children was a registered nurse,” McCann said in a statement issued by the university.

Susan Schalin, who’s worked alongside McCann on the Field of Crosses from the start, said he’s definitely earned his honorary degree.

“It’s well-deserved,” Schalin said. “Murray has been–over the years–so involved with philanthropy, and has done so much behind the scenes without recognition.”

McCann said it’s especially rewarding to see many school groups visiting the crosses.

“It’s sure given me great confidence in the future,” he said. “What a great country.”

The Field of Crosses is open through Remembrance Day on Memorial Drive across from downtown Calgary.

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