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Sculpted soldier comes full circle

Irwin Block

November 2011

The Remembrance Day ceremony held in Lachine on Sunday, November 6, had special significance. It marked the final stage in the relocation and restoration of the borough’s cenotaph in Stoney Point Park, near 45th Ave.

The monument, sculpted by Alfred Laliberté, features a First World War soldier with rifle and fixed bayonet. It had already been moved to the majestic waterside site from next to the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 8590, on Henri Dunant.

There was broad agreement that the memorial to soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in that horrific conflict and those that followed, deserved a more central and fitting location, said William McCullock, a Legion trustee and chairman of the cenotaph relocation and restoration committee.

William McCullock (centre), Lachine Museum director Marc Pitre (left), and Legion member Thomas Young (right)

“People didn’t even know where the cenotaph was. It was getting vandalized and bronze plaques were being stolen. We said it was time to bring it back near the water.”

(It was originally next to the 34th Ave. pier.)

The site, between St. Joseph and Lac St. Louis, was the biggest remount depot in North America during the First World War, where the best horses were selected for shipment to the battlefields in Europe. The land at the time belonged to Robert Bickerdike, a livestock exporter and politician who maintained a summer home on nearby 47th Ave.

The bronze plaques were removed from the monument during the res toration and under them were discovered in lead letters the names of 10 major theatres of war where Canadians fought and died. They will be displayed in the Legion building.

Two new granite wings recently added to the monument include the names of all Lachine residents who died in conflicts up to and including Korea. Names of those who died in Afghanistan will be added next year.

Surrounded by benches and shrubs, with the monument lit at night, the hope is that it will deter graffiti or other vandalism.

McCullock, the son of RCAF veteran William McCullock, urges all to join him in remembering the fallen “with love and honour.”



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