Restoration of Kamloops Cenotaph nearing completion

By Tanya Cronin
August 25, 2016 - 4:48pm Updated: August 26, 2016 - 11:25am

KAMLOOPS — It has stood on Battle Street in Kamloops for nine decades. 

The Memorial Hill Cenotaph is a constant reminder of the ultimate sacrifice our soldiers have made, and holds the names of those who lost their lives in World War I,  World War II, The Korean War, and the War in Afghanistan. 

Over the last several months, repairs and improvements have been made to restore the historic landmark, that is one of only a few in the country that has a clock. The hope is to have the monument fixed up by Remembrance Day.    

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He lost his life while on duty in Afghanistan. It was Master Corporal Erin Doyle's fifth operational tour, and third tour in the war-torn country, when insurgents attacked and he was killed in 2008. His name, the last to be engraved on the Kamloops Cenotaph. 

"It's very meaningful for us to commemorate and to honour and to remember, it's a place where people can sit and reflect and it's really a special monument for us all," says Julia Cyr, Kamloops Museum Supervisor.

This historic monument bears the names of over 100 men and women lost in conflict. And while there are cenotaphs all over the country, few are anything like this one. It has sat on Battle Street since 1925, and today it has never looked so new. 

"They cleaned up all of the grout that's between each of the stones, there was a lot of moss build up, particularly at the top of the cenotaph, and they also sprayed off a lot of years of pollution."  

Restoration of the Memorial Hill Cenotaph is nearly complete. Work began in the spring to improve the aesthetics, and upgrade the park space surrounding the landmark. A garden has been planted, a new fence put up, and bench pads have been layed for a new seating area.

"The widening of that pavement and paving stones so we could have greater access so people could move around the monument, sit down, take a physical break as well, and the flower beds, it's nice to see it all come to fruition."

Skilled professionals have worked tirelessly, and repairs have been extensive, work on the clock atop the memorial especially. The hands of time have stood still for much of its history and debris and rock dust has damaged the interior.     
            
"A lot of the gears that shift the clock, pieces have broken off over time, so those need to be replaced, the idea is to replace the mechanics inside the cenotaph so we can have all 4 dials working, and the glass again to lexicon, so we don't see in the future that people can break that glass, it has been done in the past."

The full scope of the restoration project will cost nearly $100,000. With the help of a $25,000 grant from Veteran's Affairs, $50,000 private donation, contributions from the Museum, Rocky Mountain Rangers, Legion and the City, completion is near, and these names will never be forgotten.

"We're here, we're finally here, the hope is by November 11th we can see the clocks working, and if not it'll be early 2017," says Cyr.

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