A place for reflection
Only tulip bulbs from the Netherlands planted at North Sydney cenotaph
The cenotaph in the heart of North Sydney is seen as a place of respect and reflection.
“The cenotaph means a lot to a lot of people in town and to our legion and its members,” said Armstrong Memorial branch 19 Royal Canadian Legion president Carl Wall. “It isn't just a place we go on Remembrance Day. Every day you see people stopping by to enjoy the gardens, read the names on the monuments or take a moment for quiet reflection.”
The centre pillar of the cenotaph was built in 1927 by John D. Steele & Sons at a cost of $3,500. It features the names of soldiers from North Sydney killed in the First World War.
According to local historians, Mrs. Lawrence Kehoe, who lost three sons in what is referred to as the “Great War,” did the unveiling.
“It wasn't until around 1975 that the two side pillars were built,” Wall said. “It's interesting because the legion received a donation of the two honour roll scrolls with the names of those soldiers who lost their lives in the Second World War. The scrolls were in North Sydney's town hall before that building was demolished and are a major part of the town's history.”
In 1977, the legion purchased tulip bulbs from the Netherlands, a welcome addition to the cenotaph.
“Each year a magnificent sea of tulips remind us of the importance of Canada's role in the liberation of the Netherlands” Wall said. “Any bulbs that have to be replaced, we get from the Netherlands. It's important to maintain the bond we have with that country.”
Trish Taylor of the North Sydney Garden Club takes care of the beds and Wall makes sure the grounds are mowed and maintained.
It isn't just branch 19 that makes the care of our legions
and grounds a priority,” Wall said. “Legions across the country do the same as a way to honour those who made the supreme sacrifice and to honour all our veterans.”
Wall welcomed the opportunity to tell the story of his uncle Edward Wall, who served with the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve as a stoker 1st class on board HMCS Otter.
Wall, who was 29 years of age at the time, was among two officers and 17 men who lost their lives when the Otter was destroyed by an accidental explosion and fire off Halifax on March 26, 1941.
Six months after the loss of the Otter, his uncle's body washed up on the back of Long Island in Grand Manan, N.B.
“The legion in Grand Manan adopted my uncle and have been taking care of his grave ever since. That is the legion way, it's all about service to the community and taking care of our veterans.”
JULIE COLLINS/CAPE BRETON POST Maintaining the cenotaph and grounds is a priority for Armstrong Memorial branch 19 Royal Canadian Legion and its president Carl Wall.