05/03/2012 05:48 EDT | Updated 07/03/2012 05:12 EDT

Second World War vet christens navy monument during ceremony in Ottawa

OTTAWA - Second World War veteran Elsa Lessard christened the new Royal Canadian Navy Monument in true navy tradition by breaking a bottle of champagne against it.

Lessard, who served with the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, officially named the monument during the dedication ceremony on a blustery day in the capital.

She joined Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Defence Minister Peter MacKay, the chief of defence staff, Gen. Walt Natynczyk and other dignitaries at the unveiling.

The monument pays homage to all the Canadian sailors who served their country during the navy's first century of existence.

Artist Al McWilliams, and architects Joost Bakker and Bruce Haden, designed the monument, a white marble structure on a prow-shaped piece of land that juts into the Ottawa river, with Parliament Hill serving as a backdrop.

Carved into the side of the monument in English and French is the navy motto "Ready aye ready."