Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Canada-Korea Amity
Relations between Korea and Canada date back to the 19th century when missionaries from the North American country arrived in Korea and began to engage in religious and other activities. James S. Gale, who lived in Korea for more than four decades, created the first Korean-English dictionary. He translated Western classics into Korean and took the lead in bringing Korean literature to the Western world by translating the 17th-century novel Guunmong (The Cloud Dream of the Nine) and other literary works of Korea.
Oliver R. Avison, another missionary who worked as doctor and professor of a medical school, became King Gojong’s physician after treating his poison ivy dermatitis. He played a crucial role in introducing modern medicine into Korea and educating and training Korean doctors.
During the Korean War that broke out in 1950, Canada helped Korea by sending soldiers as part of the United Nations Forces. In 1951, many Canadian troops were killed and wounded during the infamous Battle of Gapyeong, a county in Gyeonggi Province, but their defense of a strategically important hill successfully halted the advance of enemy forces and led to the ultimate protection of the nearby capital of Seoul.
A monument cherishing the valor and sacrifice of Canadian soldiers has been erected in Igok Village in the northern part of Gapyeong County, and a Wall of Remembrance to the 516 fallen Canadians has been built at the Meadowvale Cemetery in Brampton, Canada. On July 9, 2023, a monument commemorating Canada’s victory in the Battle of Gapyeong was unveiled in the City of Airdrie, Alberta, in the Calgary Region. The monument is made of a rock sourced from Gapyeong and was presented by Gapyeong County as a gesture of gratitude for the Canadian sacrifice.
Canada and Korea established diplomatic relations in 1963, ten years after the Korean War ended with an armistice agreement. As long-time friends and partners, the two countries celebrate the 60th anniversary of their formal ties this year. In celebration of this significant occasion, the KF is currently holding the special exhibition Intense Difference of Its Own in Seoul and Jeju. Last September, the two countries upgraded their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership and have since been continuing more vigorous exchange and cooperation.
A recently unveiled monument in the City of Airdrie, Alberta, commemorates Canada’s victory in the Battle of Gapyeong.
A monument cherishing the valor and sacrifice of Canadian soldiers in Igok Village in northern Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province.