Works starts on upgrade to memorial in Vimy Ridge Park

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Wielding golden shovels instead of firearms, members of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles turned the sod on the refurbishment of a memorial to the infantry regiment.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/07/2018 (1545 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Wielding golden shovels instead of firearms, members of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles turned the sod on the refurbishment of a memorial to the infantry regiment.

The $330,000 project involves the memorial being placed on an elevated granite platform. Landscaping and pavement stones will be added to the monument.

“The Royal Winnipeg Rifles have a proud history and a lasting legacy,” Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said at the ceremony on Tuesday.

ANDREW RYAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman speaks at Vimy Ridge Park on Tuesday.

“It is an honour to recognize and commemorate our past, present and future through the expansion of the (memorial) in Vimy Ridge Memorial Park… I look forward to the unveiling ceremony later this year.”

Ray Crabbe, president of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles Foundation, said “this memorial will commemorate 135 years of service in Canada by the Royal Winnipeg Rifles and will serve as a legacy to those members of the regiment and Canada’s military who gave so much for their country.”

The Rifles, nicknamed the Little Black Devils by the Métis during the Northwest Rebellion, were founded in 1883. They have served in the First World War, the Second World War, the Boer War, and conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia, and Afghanistan.

The memorial project, paid for through partners and a fundraising project by the Rifles Foundation, is expected to be completed in time for a commemoration service on Nov. 10. It includes fencing, lighting, and a hard surface area for public ceremonies.

“The foundation is extremely grateful to all those individuals, corporations and organizations who purchased a Legacy Stone and made a contribution,” Crabbe said.

Crabbe complimented city staff and councillors, noting that all 15 donated to the project. Area Coun. Cindy Gilroy contributed $30,000 from the Daniel McIntyre land development reserve fund, Coun. Ross Eadie contributed $15,000 from the Mynarski fund, and the other 13 contributed $5,000 apiece from their reserve funds.

“That’s a tremendous feather in the cap of city councillors,” he said.

ANDREW RYAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Dignitaries turn the sod at a ceremony to start construction of the new Royal Winnipeg Rifles Memorial at Vimy Ridge Park. From left: Pamela Shaw, Veterans Affairs representative; Megan Tate, director of community grants of the Winnipeg Foundation; Mayor Brian Bowman; Ray Crabbe, president of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles Foundation; Emoke Szathmary, honorary colonel; and Albert Eltassi, honorary lieutenant colonel.

The city contributed $50,000 from its 2018 capital budget, Veterans Affairs Canada gave $50,000, The Royal Winnipeg Rifles Foundation gave $86,000, and the Winnipeg Foundation put in $20,000.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

 

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason
Reporter

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

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Updated on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 9:49 PM CDT: Fixes typo in photo caption.

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