In almost every destination that I have had the privilege of visiting, there is a memorial, monument or museum dedicated to fallen soldiers.
This time of year always reminds me of those who came before me, who sacrificed their lives for the rest of us, and thinks about the universality of war. But I don’t have to be in a distant place to be called back. Here at home there are a lot of physical reminders all around us.
In fact, the other day, as I was waiting in my vehicle at a red light, I noticed for the first time one of Winnipeg’s most obvious commemorations.
At the corner of Broadway and Osborne Street, on the northwest corner of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly grounds, is the Next Parents monument. It was inaugurated almost a century ago, in 1923, to commemorate the 1,663 Manitobans – mostly from Winnipeg – who never returned from the First World War. It’s a little hard to miss, and I can’t believe I’ve never really noticed it before.
In the 1930s, a site in Saint-Boniface that had been used informally as a local dumping ground was converted into a public green space. The grounds of Coronation Park were leveled and landscaped, and officially opened on May 12, 1937, to coincide with the coronation of King George VI. In July 1947, a cenotaph was opened at the site to honor fallen soldiers during WWI and WWII, with Korean War recognition added in subsequent years.
Located in Bruce Park, the St. James Cenotaph was first erected in 1936 by the Royal Canadian Legion of St. James No. 4. The original structure slowly eroded over the next five decades and , in the 1980s, it finally succumbed to extensive frost damage. . A replica was set up and dedicated in a ceremony on September 30, 1990, and it remains in great shape today.
Valor Road, formerly known as Pine Street, was renamed to recognize three World War I soldiers who all lived on the streets – Frederick William Hall, Leo Clarke and Robert Shankland – who were all awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest army of the British Commonwealth honor. The Valor Road Memorial Square on Sargent Avenue and Valor Road was designed in 2005 and is shaped like a Victoria Cross with bronze plaques on Tyndall stone bases.
The Vimy Ridge Canadian Memorial Park, which stretches along Portage Avenue between Canora Street and Home Street, is home to several First World War memorial statues. The 44th Canadian Infantry Vimy Ridge Monument, originally erected on Vimy Ridge in France in 1917, was moved to Winnipeg in 1924 to reside in our Vimy Ridge Park. There is also a bronze statue unveiled in 2015 that honors Army Gunner Andrew Charles Mynarski, a Winnipeg-born war hero who received the Victoria Cross after his death. At the northwest corner of the park stands a memorial to the fallen members of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles.
These are just a few of the many sites in Winnipeg that honor fallen soldiers. The next time you notice one, take a moment to stop and remember it.
Let us not forget that.
RoseAnna Schick is a travel enthusiast and music lover who seeks inspiration wherever she goes. Email him at email@example.com
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