Work to restore Kamloops Cenotaph begins

By Tanya Cronin
June 23, 2016 - 3:57pm Updated: June 23, 2016 - 5:29pm

KAMLOOPS — The Memorial Hill Cenotaph in Kamloops holds the names of Canadian men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. 

From WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and the War in Afghanistan, the landmark honours soldiers killed in action both generations ago, and in more recent conflict. 

While there are cenotaphs all over the country, few are anything like the one that sits on the corner of Battle Street downtown. 

For years, the monument has been in need of repairs and improvements. After a long wait, that work has finally started. 

WATCH: Full report by Tanya Cronin

It's an historic monument that bears the names of over 100 men and women lost in battle. The Kamloops Cenotaph was built in 1925, and now after 9 decades, it will finally be restored.

"If you had been here a week earlier you would've been able to see there were large chunks of grout that had fallen out, there was a lot of moss that had become embedded, so they've cleaned that up," says Barbara Berger, City of Kamloops Arts, Culture & Heritage Manager. 

Work has begun to improve the asthetics of the Battle Street Cenotaph, and upgrade the park space surrounding this landmark. 

"The grounds that we're standing on, we want to improve the accessibility to the site, make sure it's wheelchair accessible, so our parks staff will be undertaking some of the landscaping component to make this public space that much more accessible."

Lighting and benches will be installed to make the space more comfortable for people to sit and reflect while remembering a loved one. The full scope of the restoration project will cost more than $100,000. The City of Kamloops has contributed between $35,000 and $40,0000 and the remaining has been donated.  

"$25,000 has come from Veteran's Affairs, that was our first external source that came to us, then we had a $50,000 private donation, the legion has contributed to the project as well, there have been quite a few contributors."

Nearly $70,000 will focus primarily on repairs to the clock atop the memorial, where the hands of time have stood still for much of its history. Over time, debris and rock dust has damaged the clock's interior.

"The mechanics that are installed will be new, we'll keep the original faces, you would never know the mechanics are new but we've made every effort to keep every nut and screw that came out of the original becuase it's a facinating object that people will be able to observe in the museum."

Work to restore the Kamloops Cenotaph is extensive and will take time. But skilled professionals started repairs last week, and the hope to complete the project before the snow flies. All to ensure those who fought, are never forgotten.

"This monument honours those who served our country and lost their lives in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Afghanistan, it's very important," says Berger.

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