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Cenotaph added to Abbotsford’s heritage registry

Memorial dates back to 1929; was relocated to Thunderbird Square in 2006
Abbotsford’s cenotaph dates to 1929. (Photo courtesy The Reach/P3516); Right: photo via Royal Canadian Legion

The historic significance of the monument honouring local residents’ wartime sacrifices is being recognized.

The Abbotsford Cenotaph is being added to the city’s Community Heritage Register after council approved a request from the local Royal Canadian Legion branch.

The cenotaph is the eight listing on Abbotsford’s heritage register. Although inclusion on the register doesn’t legally protect the cenotaph, it can help the site meet eligibility requirements for grants from the federal and provincial governments. The register will only include the cenotaph – not the site it sits on.

The cenotaph is now more than 90 years old, having first been erected in 1929 at Jubilee Park. It replaced a World War I flagpole that had to be removed due to roadwork.

The original fixture had a lamp that was later replaced by a Maltese Cross designed by veteran Cyril Holbrow, according to the legion. Harry Tarasenko crafted the cross. The original cross, though, was stolen and was replaced by a replica.

The cenotaph has five bronze plaques paying tribute to lives lost during both world wars, along with those who died during training at Abbotsford Airfield. Names have continued to be added after local soldiers have fallen in the Korean War and, more recently, Afghanistan.

The cenotaph has been the centre of Remembrance Day events since its erection. It has been moved several times, most recently to Thunderbird Square in 2006.

Council unanimously approved the addition.

Coun. Ross Siemens hailed the previous work of Alan Kidd, who helped spur the cenotaph’s move to Thunderbird Square.

“To see this incorporated I think it’s come full circle and it’s in its rightful resting place,” Siemens said.

The other sites on Abbotsford’s Community Heritage Registry are:

  1. Trethewey House, 2313 Ware Street
  2. Clayburn School, 4315 Wright Road
  3. Clayburn Church, 4280 Wright Road
  4. 1911 Sikh Temple, 33089 South Fraser Way, (National Historic Site Status)
  5. Old South Poplar School, 32746 Huntingdon Rd.
  6. The former Great Northern Railway bridge site and embankment, Maclure Rd
  7. The former Abbotsford Lumber Company Log Dump, Mill Lake Park
  8. A portion of Old Yale Road, also known as the New Westminster-Hope Wagon Road (located from approximately 39180 Old Yale Road to Vye Road, approximately 39623 Old Yale Road

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