After several years of work, a special area in the downtown core will be officially celebrated tomorrow.
Veterans’ Park, located in the north lanes of Ross St. next to the Cenotaph, is a place where the public can reflect on the sacrifices made by local soldiers in past wars and those in our community today who serve still.
The park also allows pedestrians to approach the historic Cenotaph and to view the Red Deer treasure from a close vantage point.
The park will also provide a year-round area for people to gather and honour the City’s history and veterans.
For so many years, the Cenotaph was almost inaccessible between busy lanes of traffic. The Cenotaph, a sculpture of an unknown soldier facing the old railway station, was completed in the fall of 1922.
It was formally unveiled by Lord Byng of Vimy, the Governor-General of Canada on Sept. 15, 1922 and was rededicated Nov. 13, 1949.
The Cenotaph cost $6,200, a considerable sum of money in the early 1920s – with all of the funds being raised through donations.
The statue was placed in the middle of Ross St. facing west so that the soldier could see fellow comrades going to war and returning from war at the train station which is still there, but now contains offices spaces.
Meanwhile, the finished park really adds a ‘big city feel’ to the downtown, and it also helps to slow the stream of traffic.
Red Deerians are invited to attend the opening of Veterans’ Park and rededication of the Cenotaph tomorrow. The official ceremonies begin at 10:30 a.m. and will proceed rain or shine.
Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch Number 35, The Korea Veterans Branch 67, The Honourable Donald S. Ethell, Lieutenant Government of Alberta, elected officials and City staff will all be on hand to commemorate the opening and rededication.
This area certainly has enhanced the downtown, and particularly this street corner. It adds a sophisticated, polished look to Ross St. It also fits really well with the new Executive Place office tower located directly to the north.
So much of our downtown needs a revitalizing touch, and City officials have been working on this for some time now. Veterans’ Park is the first really significant, visible piece of that plan.
We hope the City has plans for more areas like this in the future as already, we’ve seen how Veterans’ Park added to the overall appeal of downtown.