Ninety-five years ago, Canadians marked the end of the First World War and with it, the first Remembrance Day.
Winnipeg has often recognized its veterans. One example is the well-known renaming of Pine Street to Valour Road in the city’s West End. Now, our constituency of Riel has its own story of commemoration.
The Arden Seven were seven friends from Arden Avenue who fought and survived both the Battle of Hong Kong and life as prisoners of war in 1941. George Peterson, the last surviving member of the Arden Seven at 92, fought alongside his twin brother Morris, Fred Abrahams (aka Fred Harting), Bill Lancaster, and brothers Alfred, Edward, and Harry Shayler.
During the Battle of Hong Kong, 290 Canadians were killed and 493 wounded. In all, more than 550 of the 1,975 Canadians stationed in Hong Kong never returned home. But those seven boys from Arden Avenue did, and now we honour their commitment and courage during the Second World War.
In August, I was happy to join the Premier, Mayor Sam Katz, and St. Vital city councillor Brian Mayes to announce the creation of the Arden Seven Interpretive Plaza in Jules Mager Park, located at the corner of St. Michael Road and River Road. This joint $75,000 investment in our park will fund the construction of new landscaping, pathways, commemorative plaques, and most importantly seven chairs symbolizing these seven young men who served and survived together. The peace and tranquility of this park will stand in direct contrast to the violence and trauma of war.
Veterans Week is Nov. 5 to 11 this year and there are many ways to remember Canadian veterans, including wearing a poppy or attending your local Remembrance Day ceremony. To learn more about the new plaza and Remembrance Day events in the community, feel free to contact me by calling (204) 253-5162, or by email at Christine.Melnick@yourmanitoba.ca.
Especially as this year marks almost 100 years since the start of the First World War, I hope you join me in commemorating the service of men and women who fought and served for us.
We will remember them.