KAMLOOPS — This Sunday will mark 100 years since the First World War ended, a conflict which would claim nearly 20 million lives and set the stage for World War II two decades later. While the fighting took place across Europe, Asia and Africa, families from communities around the world felt the effects.
On Sunday, Nov. 11, cenotaphs across Canada will play host to ceremonies commemorating the end of the First World War, a conflict that claimed the lives of around 60,000 Canadians and would change the course of history in the 20th century. The Kamloops Cenotaph was built in 1925, just seven years after the end of the First World War.
“We have tons of photographs of the cenotaph,” Kamloops Museum Archivist Jaimie Fedorak explained. “We have some that were taken just after the unveiling and commemoration.”
Interestingly enough, it’s not the only memorial structure located in the park.
“Memorial [Hill] Park doesn’t just have one memorial — the Cenotaph — it also has this Cairn beside Stuart Wood School, which was put up by the local chapter of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire and the local students from Stuart Wood,” Museum Educator Keely Bland said. “They erected this cairn [in 1922] in honour of all the students who went to Stuart Wood School who fought in the First World War.”
There are 189 names on the Cenotaph from World War I. Those 189 young men from our area answered the call of their country but never returned. In 2017, the 92-year-old structure went through a significant renovation, preserving the history of the park for future generations.
“The significance of the restoration is that it’s a place for us to remember what’s happened and to think about those people that served and are still serving,” Museum Supervisor Julia Cyr explained.
On Saturday, staff from the Kamloops Museum and Archives will host a walking tour of Memorial Hill Park, as a way to highlight some of the histories of the monuments located there.
“We’re going to be talking about the history of the Park, and the Memorials in the Park,” Bland said. “We’re also going to have Jack Gin talk a little bit about… [Kamloops-born Chinese-Canadian Soldier] Frederick Lee.”
The walking tour begins at 11:00 am on Nov. 10 and is expected to last about an hour. For more information or to register, click here.
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