Hundreds assembled outside the Guelph Civic Museum on Thursday to watch as Governor General David Johnston and Mayor Cam Guthrie unveiled a new bronze statue of Lt. Col. John McCrae commemorating the 100th anniversary of McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields.

The statue, created by Canadian sculptor Ruth Abernethy and commissioned by The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, depicts a thoughtful McCrae leaning against a fallen tree, writing his famous poem in a notebook.

"Anyone who thinks about a military statue immediately thinks of someone in uniform and we didn't want that," said former Guelph MP and Second World War veteran William Winegard, who was the honourary chair of the committee that brought the statue to Guelph.

"The poem is what matters. It's talking about people and life and the things McCrae stood for. So, it just made it right somehow."

McCrae was born in Guelph in 1872 and wrote the poem In Flanders Fields during the second battle of Ypres in Belgium in 1915.