New Online Map of World War Monuments in BC Launched
Prince George, B.C.- Heritage BC has launched its interactive web site that lists World War I and II memorials, but Prince George’s Veterans Plaza is, conspicuously, missing.The interactive map allows site visitors to click on highlighted locations for details on the monuments and special stories about those memorials.
Nearly 200 sites throughout the province are listed on the map, but there is no link to the Veteran’s Plaza in Prince George. Project consultant Elana Zyblast says the initial mapping of monuments is a result of information gathered from the public, not the Provincial inventory of such memorials.
In the case of Prince George, the changes to the cenotaph which saw the river rock monuments replaced by the new pillars, the involvement of the Dutch community to have tulips planted in the Plaza as a thank you to all who served, are just two of the stories that could make Prince George’s World War monument connect with visitors.
“I know that the (provincial ) inventory could not include everything that’s in Prince George” says Zyblast “There may well be memorials in churches that have plaques in windows and they may not be on the inventory, so it is a good opportunity for the community of Prince George to say What do we have, how did we participate in world War I and II, and what can we do to get the word out on how our community contributed?”
There are more than 700 World War memorials in the province, and they take a variety of forms. From names of streets, mountains and lakes, to rows of trees. According to Heritage BC, the RCAF Women’s Auxiliary would plant a blue hydrangea outside the Chilliwack High School each time they had been notified of a death of an Airforce member during World War II. By the end of the War, there were 49 hydrangea bushes, only a handful of the plants are still on site.
The map was intended to cover those monuments to the World Wars, but Zyblast say there were numerous submissions about the Korean War, “Because by the time communities got around to erecting a World War II monument, the Korean war was underway, and if the monument mentions Afghanistan, we will mention that, but the map was meant to commemorate the two World Wars.”
She says the hope is, that in the future, the map will have numerous layers detailing heritage sites, parks, and other themes that can be added in the future. “We are really hoping we can all kinds of sites, anything that’s of interest and increases awareness about the heritage and history of our Province, if it’s on an interactive map, people enjoy it, and when you get in your car, or you’re on your phone and you want to see something, you have the GPS coordinates to lead you there.”
Prince George will be added later this month “Send pictures, send stories, telling us about the cenotaph, and if it comes from the community it might be someone’s story, or that it was fundraised to get it together, or a soldier who won a medal. Really interesting stories make it more personal and more connected to the community. So don’t worry Prince George, we haven’t forgotten you, it’s a great opportunity to have this discussion, so that when we launch the next phase in a couple of weeks, we have all the Provincial inventory sites, and one or two that we didn’t know about.”
To have the Prince George monument story told, interested parties can send information and the location along with a high resolution photo to email@example.com