TORONTO, Nov. 10, 2018 /CNW/ - Mayor John Tory was joined today by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and members of the Commonwealth Consular Corps for a rededication ceremony at Coronation Park on Toronto's waterfront. The ceremony marks the completion of phase one of the restoration of the commemorative function of the park.
"Coronation Park is a living war memorial and an important part of our city's history," said Mayor Tory. "This restoration honours the memory of our soldiers and serves as a reminder of the sacrifices they made."
The restoration will revive the original intent of the park. Phase one includes the restoration of the original Empire Circle with a new path and new entrance pathways following the original design, as well as new engraved markers, benches, tree plantings and signage. Phase two, scheduled for 2019, will include completed pathways, new markers and additional signs. Wherever possible, original granite markers will remain as historical artifacts.
Originally developed in the 1930s, the park's design featured a commemorative planting with a single Royal Oak tree surrounded by a ring of silver maples, named the Empire Circle, to celebrate the coronation of King George VI. Maple groves were planted beyond this in memory of the Canadian troops who fought in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War, as well as in South Africa, the 1885 Rebellion and the Fenian Raids.
The first trees were planted simultaneously by veterans in a mass ceremony in 1937. A year later brass and granite plaques were unveiled at the foot of each tree, representing individual military units. Many of the veterans were members of the Men of the Trees, an international organization promoting conservationism and reforestation. More maples were planted along Remembrance Drive by schoolchildren and veterans of the First World War in 1939 to honour a visit to Toronto by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
The restoration project was partially funded by a grant from Veterans Affairs Canada as part of the Cenotaph/Monument Restoration Program.
More information is available at https://www.toronto.ca/coronationpark.
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SOURCE City of Toronto
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