Should Whistler's cenotaph be moved? 

Relocation of war memorial removed from 2016 project list

click to enlarge PHOTO CLARE OGILVIE - Lest we forget Whistler's cenotaph is tucked into the side of the Whistler Village Fire Station. Some would like to see it moved to a more public space.
  • PHOTO clare ogilvie
  • Lest we forget Whistler's cenotaph is tucked into the side of the Whistler Village Fire Station. Some would like to see it moved to a more public space.

With another well-attended Remembrance Day ceremony this year, will the discussion once again turn to moving the cenotaph?

In a letter to the editor in the Nov. 3 Pique, Tom Thomson floated the idea again.

"It is positioned between a busy thoroughfare sidewalk, under a tree and at the south end of an overflowing parking lot," Thomson wrote.

"My desire is to bring our Cenotaph out to be accessible 365 days of the year."

Thomson — a former municipal councillor — has raised the idea in the past as well.

The exact history of Whistler's cenotaph is difficult to trace, other than that the Rotary Club was involved in commissioning it and the stone arrived sometime in the mid-80s.

The Remembrance Day ceremony took place in the same location — in the parking lot at the Fire Hall on the corner of Blackcomb Way and Village Gate Blvd — before the stone itself was installed, a municipal spokesperson said.

A project request was submitted to the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) to consider moving the war memorial this year, but it was removed from the 2016 project list after discussions between council and staff.

Asked about it before this year's ceremony, Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said she didn't see the need to move the cenotaph.

"Certainly there has been some discussion from time to time about moving the cenotaph, but I personally feel that this cenotaph in its current location is the place where it should be," Wilhelm-Morden said.

"(The Remembrance Day ceremony) is always jam packed, and that's kind of the appeal, you know? Everybody is standing shoulder to shoulder and yeah, I think it really works well."

Remembrance Day organizer Brian Bucholz said he hasn't spoken to the RMOW about moving the cenotaph in some time, but "the comment is quite common" from people in the community, he said.

"It's such a magical place on (Nov. 11), but, on the record, 364 days of the year it is in a parking lot, and when the winter comes, it's kind of buried in a snow pile," he said.

"I do agree, as one member of the community that has his finger close to the facility I guess, that yeah, I'd like to have a discussion."

Bucholz said he has heard from the RMOW in the past that they don't see the need to move it, but hasn't been given a specific reason.

Of course municipal works cost money, Bucholz said, but any potential new site for the cenotaph doesn't need to be extravagant.

"I think the simpler, the better," he said.

There's no "emergency" to moving it, but "what's the cost and the danger in having a chat about it?" Bucholz asked.

For the time being, mayor and council are pleased with the cenotaph's location and there are no plans to move it or the site of the annual Remembrance Day service.

"I'm not sure where the initiative is coming from to talk about moving it," Wilhelm-Morden said.

"But probably as long as I'm around it's not going to move."


Readers also liked…

Latest in Whistler

More by Braden Dupuis

© 1994-2019 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation