- Corporate body
Following the end of World War One in 1918, Canada began erecting statues and cenotaphs to honour the memory of its war dead. Out of this arose proposals for a ‘Road of Remembrance’, or ‘Memorial Avenue’ to serve as a tribute to fallen soldiers. Shelbourne Street became the first such Road of Remembrance in Canada and was formally dedicated on the afternoon of October 2, 1921. The ceremony was held near the entrance to Mount Douglas Park where 7,000 people arrived to hear speeches by BC’s Premier John Oliver and Lieutenant Governor Walter Nichol who said: “he who plants a tree plants a hope”. The original intention was that Shelbourne Street should include one tree for every British Columbian who fell in the war. Some 600 trees were planted but that number would prove insufficient as ten times as many men and women from British Columbia died in the Great War. On September 29, 2018, the Memorial Avenue Committee, led by Saanich residents Ray Travers and Mary-Jane Shaw, organized a re-dedication ceremony and commemoration of the 1918 Armistice. The ceremony included a traditional First Nations blessing and speeches by BC’s Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin, MP Murray Rankin, MLA Andrew Weaver, and Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell. In advance of the event, Saanich installed 30 Memorial Avenue sign toppers along Shelbourne Street.