This Saturday marks the 34th year of Whistler’s Remembrance Day observances, and the first not to take place at the Whistler Village Fire Hall.
Yesterday (Friday, November 10) Whistler’s cenotaph was revealed at its new home in Olympic Plaza in the monument’s second dedication ceremony.
The history of Whistler’s cenotaph is surprisingly murky – not much about its installation made it into the Whistler Question; far more has been written about moving the cenotaph than building it. As part of the campaign to have the cenotaph moved, Anne Townley and GD Maxwell searched for any reference to the origins of the cenotaph but were still left with more questions.
The cenotaph was first installed outside of the fire hall in 1985. It was commissioned by the Rotary Club of Whistler to “honour the soldiers of World War I, World War II and the Korean War.”
The stone came from a quarry off the Duffey Lake Road and was installed by Art Den Duyf and someone by the name of Wilson. (If anyone knows more about the commissioning and installation of the cenotaph please don’t hesitate to contact the museum.) The monument was unveiled on November 11, 1985 by Mayor Terry Rodgers and was originally dedicated by then-Rotary Club president Floyd Leclair. The ceremony occurred just three days after the cenotaph’s installation was completed.
Although Whistler’s cenotaph was not installed until 1985 the community had been holding Remembrance Day Services for at least two years previously. These ceremonies also took place outside of the fire hall and wreaths were laid in the future site of the cenotaph, even if a spot for them had to be dug out of the snow.
Since 1985 Whistler’s Remembrance Day observances have grown to include the Colour Party and Parade, the Service of Remembrance, a helicopter fly over, and coffee and hot chocolate in the fire hall courtesy of the Rotary Club.
The Remembrance Day service starts at 10:30 am today (Saturday, November 11) in Olympic Plaza.