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war stories to know this Remembrance Day

Edmonton has many war memorials and cenotaphs, but not everyone knows the story behind them. Metro compiled a list of places, people and events for Edmontonians to remember this Remembrance Day

Erected to remember soldiers who fell in the First World War.

Kevin Tuong / for metro

Erected to remember soldiers who fell in the First World War.

1: Beverly Cenotaph

Location: 40 Street and 118 Avenue in northeast Edmonton.

During the first world war, the Beverly neighbourhood was not part of Edmonton, but got absorbed into it later on. When the war ended in 1918, citizens of Beverly felt it was important to put up a memorial in honouring those who had served in the war. They later put up a cenotaph in 1920. Today it's Alberta’s “oldest modern war monument”, said Captain Richard Dumas Adjutant to The Loyal Edmonton Regiment.

“It just goes to show how serious the citizens of Beverly were to put up a memorial in gratitude of the veterans,” Dumas said.

Dumas was involved in the rededication ceremony of the Beverly cenotaph this past summer after a group of local citizens raised $400,000 dollars to salvage and repair the cenotaph.

The War Memorial Pipe Organ at the Convocation Hall at the University of Alberta.

Kevin Tuong

The War Memorial Pipe Organ at the Convocation Hall at the University of Alberta.

2: War Memorial Pipe Organ

Location: University of Alberta Convocation Hall (116 Street and 85 Avenue)

After half of the University of Alberta’s faculty and students went to war, around 80 of them did not return. To honour those soldiers the university took some time coming up with the right memorial, and after many ideas that included debates on a statue of a soldier and whether or not it would hold a cigarette, they decided on a pipe organ.

‘It was something that would be a lasting memory because they could use it regularly for concerts, students could hear it and see it and also could use it,” said the university's organist Marnie Giesbrecht.  “People could be a community around this instrument.”

The original organ, which was built by Casavant Frères, a Canadian pipe organ company and erected in 1925, was sold to someone in British Columbia in 1977 as it was in a state of disrepair.

However, the university did get a new one in 1978 by the same company which is currently in the university today.

What remains of the previous organ are the original two cases that encased the organ placed at the north and south side of the hall.

Esprit

Kevin Tuong

Esprit" is a monument erected to celebrate the spirit of Alex Decoteau, an Indigenous olympic athlete, police officer and a WWI veteran

3: Alex Decoteau Park

Location: 10200 105 St NW

An Indigenous Olympic athlete, Alex Decoteau was the only Albertan to go to the Olympics in 1912. He was the first Indigenous police officer in Canada and was recruited by the 49th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force to fight in The First World War. He died in the battle of Passchendaele.

A placard devoted to Alex Decoteau is present in Griesbach community alongside other veterans such as Victorian Cross recipient Cecil Kinross.

In 2014, the city of Edmonton also named a park on the corner of 105 Street and 102 Avenue after him.

A plaque at the Alberta Legislature dedicated to aboriginal veterans of Alberta.

Kevin Tuong

A plaque at the Alberta Legislature dedicated to aboriginal veterans of Alberta.

4: 100 year anniversary of Battle of Passchendaele

Location: Alberta Legislature, Edmonton

The battle of Passchendaele went on from July to November in 1917. On Wednesday, Premier Rachel Notley declared Nov. 10, 2017 as Battle of Passchendaele day at the Legislature.

The Canadian Corps, that included the 49th Battalion regiment based out of Edmonton, received nine Victoria Crosses.

“Passchendaele has often been called Canada’s second Vimy Ridge, because it solidified Canada’s right to be seen as an equal among nations, and drew wide recognition of our valour and determination,” Notley said.

Zena Conlin, marketing and events conductor at the Alberta Aviation Museum, shows off a B-25 Mitchell Bombing plane designed for use in WWII.

Kevin Tuong

Zena Conlin, marketing and events conductor at the Alberta Aviation Museum, shows off a B-25 Mitchell Bombing plane designed for use in WWII.

5: Flight training schools

Location: 11410 Kingsway NW.

The hanger where the current Alberta Aviation Museum is located used to be the Number Two Air Observer School (AOS). The training school was one of two schools for the British Commonwealth training program, which played a big role in training pilots for the Second World War.

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