By: Laura Steiner
On the third floor of the Canadian Legion is an empty room. Once it was full of artefacts that told the story of Milton’s contribution to Canadian military efforts. The items displayed included a radio used at D-Day, a hammock from a ship, and iron cross. They are all lovingly stored away either at the Halton Regional Museum or elsewhere in the Legion building.
The room, known as “Remembrance Hall” is being revitalized. A fresh coat of paint is on the walls, and new ceiling tiles installed. A model of what the area will look like once completed sits in the middle of the room, along with a board of photos of how it used to look.
It’s going to be divided into three phases. Facing the front of the building will be dedicated to World War I. It’s going to be open April 2 with a public ceremony, and parade. The date coincides with the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Communities across the country are marking the occasion, and some are holding it a week before the battle.
The battle of Vimy Ridge holds an important place in Canadian history. The country went into the war with four divisions of soldiers fighting amongst the allied forces. Known as the Canadian Corps, the four divisions fought for the first time together taking Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917. Their success caused one General to reflect after the war: “In those few minutes, I witnessed the birth of a nation.” 10,000 Canadians died in battle, including four from Milton on April 9.
It’s been a lot of work for volunteer Carolyn Caldwell. “It turns into a labour of love,” she said of the efforts. The bulk of the set-up is expected to happen during the last week of March, which, includes the placement of the collection. She already has a spot picked out for the iron cross.
A ramp leads down into where Phase 2 will be placed. This will look at World War II. Caldwell has four pieces by art by local artist David Craig ready to go on the wall featuring the artist’s father. This will house desks, and will be set aside for meetings, or visits from schoolkids, and members of the public who want to learn.
Phase 3 will focus on Canada’s military contribution to the Korean War, and Peacekeeping missions. Caldwell says she already has a contribution from the country’s mission to Afghanistan. Caldwell hopes the final two phases will be open by October.
This is an exciting project that will showcase our town’s history, and its contribution to Canada’s history. For more information on the revitalization of Remembrance Hall including how to contribute visit their Facebook Page.