Oshawa remembers, despite cancelled Remembrance Day event

Oshawa Memorial Park.

Durham Region has plenty of events the community can attend this Remembrance Day week. While not all of them are being attended, efforts to remember the soldiers haven’t stopped.

Remembrance Day: Oshawa’s War Memorials program was scheduled to take place from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Northview Branch of the public library. It was cancelled after only one member of the public registered to come, according to Nicole Adams, the branch supervisor for the library.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 43 historian, Bob Ross, was going to put on a presentation about Oshawa’s war memorials and ongoing projects to preserve them.

Ross leads a project to restore a small monument honouring First World War soldiers in St. Gregory’s Catholic Cemetery located on Simcoe Street North. He felt it had been forgotten.

He contacted the church office, arranged for a monument company to restore it and worked with the cemetery to help fund the project.

Adams, who was also scheduled to speak at the Northview Branch presentation, hasn’t been deterred from her plans either.

Adams was set to unveil her research into the names listed on the cenotaph in Oshawa Memorial Park. She says she began the project when members of the community came to her with questions.

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“As a librarian, I was always struggling to find the names of these people,” says Adams.“If someone’s name is P. Smith, that’s hard to identify. So, I started digging into the names.”

Adams, who originally studied to become a genealogist, began compiling information from scrapbooks, military records, old city directories and the Books of Remembrance. She has managed to get “about 80 per cent” of the information on these soldiers from where they lived, when they died and what their full names are.

One of the soldiers Adams looked into is more documented than the rest. William James Garrow has his own exhibit at the Oshawa Museum, featuring letters he wrote home to his sister.

“Some people are really well-documented, and he was one of those,” she says.

Adams plans to have a book with all of this information completed in the next two years and hopes to have an online database completed before then.

“It’s something I still want to further develop,” she says. “If I give myself a deadline, I hope to get it done by then.”

While the Tuesday presentation was cancelled, it hasn’t stopped Ross’ plans to unveil the restored monument this Saturday at 11 a.m.