It was four years in the making, but the new cenotaph now in place in Central Saanich was something about which Mayor Ryan Windsor felt very strongly.
“We had a small plaque in place in the past but I never thought that it was enough,” said Windsor.
“A cenotaph is meant to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and our way of life and I don’t think that it’s too much to ask to erect a memorial to their service.”
That’s why four years ago when Windsor was still a councillor in Central Saanich he started the move to have a real cenotaph established.
“It’s taken four years but I’m happy to say that we’ve finally done the right thing.”
The cenotaph was installed in Brentwood’s Pioneer Park after a painstaking public consultation process in which various renderings of what the cenotaph might look like were shown to the public.
“There were many ideas of what a cenotaph should look like and should be and we’ve come to a design and a location that most people support,” said Carl Jenson, the Chair of the Cenotaph Committee.
He noted that the location was a natural choice given the central location.
The final design is a trapezoid made from polished granite that features display motifs acknowledging First Nations, the Canadian maple leaf and an epitaph reading “Be at Peace” in both official languages.
The final cost of the structure and accompanying landscaping is estimated at $125,000.
“It would be too easy for us to forget the sacrifice of the men and women who gave everything for freedom during the World Wars and other conflicts around the world,” said Windsor.
“These sacrifices were made by people from every community in the country and I wanted to ensure that, in our community, we never forget what those people did and continue to do to this day.”
The cenotaph will play a central role in the 2018 Remembrance Day ceremonies in Central Saanich when residents will join Windsor, council members, including Chair of the Cenotaph Committee Carl Jensen, Central Saanich police and firefighters, members of Air Cadet’s 676 Kittyhawk Squadron, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, Stelly’s Marching Band and others at the new location.
It is particularly significant that the cenotaph is placed in 2018 as this Remembrance Day marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Ceremonies begin at 10:30 a.m. at 1209 Clarke Rd.