Memorial Park Rededication (2008)
Photo taken on Friday, October 30, 2015
Memorial Park on Ypres Boulevard between Elsmere and Gladstone Avenue, was dedicated in 1925 to honour the 837 men and women from Windsor and Essex County whose bravery and sacrifices forged the nation of Canada during the First World War. The Gateway that was erected at the entrance to the Park was paid for by the Windsor Essex Real Estate Board.
After decades of neglect the gateway fell into disrepair; rust collected on the metal gates, mortar eroded in the brickwork, and the commemorative plaques and lighting fixtures deteriorated or disappeared.
In 2005, the Windsor Historical Society Veterans Memories Project initiated the project to plant 60 trees in Memorial Park to honour the 60th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War as a start to restoring the park to its former glory.
In 2006, 81 years after the original dedication, the Society initiated the task of restoring the gateway to its original dignity and to erect a plaque with the names of the 837 men and women from Windsor and Essex County who perished in the Great War. The Society received assistance from many volunteers who worked continuously for three years (2005-2008) to get the job done.
Financial assistance was received through the City of Windsor and the Cenotaph as well as from the Monument Restoration Program of Veterans Affairs Canada.
In addition to the large plaque displaying the names of the 837 local heroes who perished in the Great War, there are smaller plaques displayed on the restored pillars. On the west pillar there is a poppy with the beloved poem, “In Flanders Fields,” by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae.
On the east pillar under the WWII sculpture is the tribute which reads: “Dedicated in 1925 to honour the 837 men and women from Windsor and Essex County whose efforts and supreme sacrifice in World War One helped to FORGE the NATION of CANADA.
Rededicated in 2008 to honour the thousands of men and women from Windsor and Essex County who have fought and kept peace in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Their efforts and sacrifices helped to strengthen the nation of Canada.”
Windsor artist, Mark Williams, designed the sculpture on the east pillar depicting three WWI soldiers in army, navy, and air force uniforms. Dave Tanner, pattern maker, designed the poppy for the west pillar and Robert Kern molded the poppy.
The success of making this monument beautiful again was a great accomplishment for Windsor and its surrounding community.