(Shelbourne Street memorial trees/heritagebc.ca)

After a summer of controversy surrounding Remembrance Day policing costs in the City of Victoria, two councillors have proposed a new way to commemorate war veterans for the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.

At a council meeting on August 8th, councillors Marianna Alto and Charlayne Thornton-Joe have filed a motion to examine the costs associated with creating medallions that say “Lest We Forget” and installing them on city streets.

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In their motion, the councillors note that the original plan in 1921 was to plant one London Plane tree for every BC soldier lost in the First World War all along what is now Shelbourne Street, and to call that street ‘Memorial Avenue’.

“Given the high numbers of lost soldiers not all of the trees were planted and the proposed name was never implemented,” reads the motion.

“Over the years some of the trees have been lost as Shelbourne Street has been widened, and as a result the historical significance of the trees has been diminished.”

They go on to highlight the fact that in 2018, the District of Saanich designed medallions with ‘Memorial Ave’ and ‘Lest We Forget’ on them, and mounted them on top of existing street signs and some traffic signs along Shelbourne Street in Saanich.

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Now, to mark the centennial of Armistice Day (a precursor to Remembrance Day), the councillors hope to install these medallions across municipality lines in Victoria, along both sides of Shelbourne Street from Bay Street to North Dairy Road.

To this end, they have asked city staff to examine the costs and resource implications of creating and installing these medallions, as well as hosting an event to mark the installations in the week prior to November 11, 2019.

Staff is expected to report back on their findings at a Committee of the Whole meeting on September 5th.

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