Memorial Trees in Canada

“The first known attempt to create a major First World War Road of Remembrance was on Shelbourne Street in Victoria and Saanich, B.C. In November 1918 businessman Thomas Walker suggested an avenue of trees (a double row of maples) along Shelbourne Street, Victoria’s “finest country thoroughfare, right out to Mount Douglas Park.” [18] The Chamber of Commerce promoted the concept, [19] and on 4 October 1921, 5,000 attended the dedication of this “Memorial Avenue” to B.C.’s war heroes. [20] A section of the street was planted with London plane and American mountain ash trees alternating every 30 feet, the faster-growing ashes to be removed when the plane trees matured. The intent was to plant a tree for each British Columbia soldier who lost his life in the Great War and embed a name plate in the base of each tree.”

—excerpt from an article by Gordon Fulton in Manitoba History, Number 31, by the Manitoba Historical Society, published spring of 1996.

Poster for Rededication Ceremony
Poster for Memorial Avenue Rededication Ceremony

Pipe Band Procession Mount Douglas (PKOLS) Park south to San Juan, and Rededication Ceremony location, near General’s Monument ( San Juan and Shelbourne

Important Traffic Information

To plan your transportation to the September 29 Rededication Ceremony, near San Juan and Shelbourne, consider the following:

1. Shelbourne between San Juan and Mount Douglas Park will be closed by police from 10:30 AM to about noon.

2. The intersection at San Juan and Shelbourne will remain open, with traffic access east and west, at this intersection.

3. Public parking lots will be available at Gordon Head Middle School (1671 Kenmore), Lambrick Park School (4139 Torquay Drive), and the Gordon Head Recreation Centre (4100 Lambrick Park Way). These parking lots are about one km to the east of Shelbourne.

4. For those using the bus, BC Transit will be increasing their frequency of service on September 29, to Kenmore and Shelbourne, just south of the Rededication Ceremony, near San Juan and Shelbourne (The General’s Monument).

5. The seven day weather forecast for September 29 is sunny, 17°C, and ten percent probability of precipitation.

The Generals Monument, in the pedestrian crosswalk at San Juan and Shelbourne, will be a centrepiece at the September 29 Rededication Ceremony.

Photograph of the Generals Monument at San Juan and Shelbourne
At least three members of the Victoria-Esquimalt Military Re-enactors Association, on September 29, will be standing near the General’s Monument, dressed in World War One uniform- two soldiers and a nurse. Stop by and have a visit.

Untold Stories from the World War One Honour Rolls

Richard Rice
“First World War memorabilia a gift across border” – click title to read article
Sidney Rich 
“Delta filmmaker to tell ‘Rich’ story” – click title to read article
Documentary goes back a century to chronicle First World War soldier  
Geoffrey Walter Ashdown Green
“Native Son Gives Life  in Service” – click title to read article
William Barton
“Rev. Barton Buried Tuesday” – click title to read article

New Memorial Avenue on Shelbourne Street Signs

Thirty new streets signs, for Memorial Avenue on Shelbourne have been installed by the District of Saanich, prior to the September 29, Rededication Ceremony, between North Dairy Road on south Shelbourne in Saanich and Mount Douglas Park (PKOLS) on the north.

Credit : The POPPY DESIGN is a registered trademark of The Royal Canadian Legion, Dominion Command and is used under licence.

Credit : Saanich Sign Shop and Public Works Crew

These four World War One Interpretive Panels will be installed, before September 29, in three locations along Shelbourne; one at Browning Park, two at Gore Memorial Peace Park, and one at the General’s Monument (San Juan and Shelbourne).

Credit : Alan Macleod, World War One historian and member of the Memorial Avenue Committee

Credit : The District of Saanich will receive $9,200 from the BC Heritage Legacy Fund to support a portion of the costs for the design, production and installation of four interpretive signs for the Shelbourne “Street of Unfinished Dreams” Project.

Image of interpretive panel for British Columbia's Sacrifice
Image of interpretive panel for Roads of Remenbrance
Image of interpretive panel for Saanich Remembers
Image of interpretive panel for The Generals Plant Memorial Trees

Prominent Greater Victoria World War One Soldiers

Sir Arthur Currie 
Currie commanded the Canadian Corps from June 1917 until its disbandment in late 1919 – click title to read article
Who’s Who – Sir Arthur Currie – click title to read article
Rowland Bourke V.C., D.S.O.
Commander Rowland Bourke – click title to read article
Esquimalt Resident from 1932 to 1958 – click title to read article
George Randolph Pearkes V.C. P.C. C.C. C.B. D.S.O. M.C. C.D. O.D. – click link to read article
Victoria Cross – First World War, 1914-1918 – click title to read article

The University of Victoria is hosting a Series of Four Events Marking the End of World War One

(directed by Georg Pabst) Cinecenta Theatre, Monday September 24 at 7:00 pm.  A landmark depiction of trench warfare for four infantrymen in the closing months of World War I, the film was later censored by Nazi authorities because of its pacifist message.

TWO TALKS By Dr. MICHELLE TUSAN, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
• Atrocity on Film: Genocide and Humanitarian Crisis in the Middle East at the Dawn of New Media Thursday, September 27, 1:30-2:20 pm, Clearihue Building A127

• Refugees and Resettlement: Humanitarianism, Internationalism and the Great WarFriday, September 28, 7:30 pm, David Turpin Building, Room A102

VICTORIA AND THE GREAT WAR—A global conflict and a city’s legacy
An afternoon gathering at the University of Victoria to consider the legacy of World War I. Free event: 1:00 – 4:30 pm, Elliot Building Room 167.

“Tree Avenues – from war to peace”
International Symposium
12 & 13, November 2018

These avenues made a strong impression particularly on soldiers of the British Commonwealth. They were frequently described by them in their letters and drawings, and later on in their stories. In 1915, they inspired a British officer, Second Lieutenant Alexander Douglas Gillespie, to wish for the creation of “one long avenue (…) from the Vosges to the sea”. The French parliamentarian Lemire proposed the same concept in 1919.

Click here for details of the symposium.