The Veterans Way Memorial Park is a special site of remembrance and reflection that was created to honour all those that served and continue to serve in the Canadian, British and United States of America Armed Forces. The Memorial Park forms part of the western gateway to the Ferguson Forest Centre and is located at the intersection of County Road #44 and Veterans Way.
Veterans Way Memorial Park Background
The concept for a Veterans Way Memorial Park was brought to the attention of North Grenville Municipal Council through a site and business plan that was developed by the Veterans Way Memorial Committee comprised of Chairman Owen Fitz'Gerald, Communications Officer Roy Brown, Councillor Tim Sutton and Douglas Brunton.
The site and business plan was unanimously approved and adopted by Council on August 8, 2011 under By-Law No. 55-11, a By-Law to Establish a Public Park to be Known As Veterans Way Memorial Park.
During the years that followed, three flagpoles proudly flying the Canadian, Royal Union (Union Jack) and United States of America flags were added to the site along with park identification signage, two steel park benches and finally an M109A4+ Self-Propelled Howitzer Memorial Monument.
Site and Furnishing Sponsorships
Municipality of North Grenville:
In recognition of our Canadian military personnel and their service to Canada and the Commonwealth.
Royal Union Flagpole (co-sponsorship)
In honour and remembrance of her father Royal Canadian Air Force Flight Sergeant James Albert Shipman who served during the Second World War.
In honour and remembrance of his grandfather Canadian Army Company Sergeant Major Christopher George Brown formerly of the British Royal Horse Artillery who served during the First World War and his father Lance Corporal Clarence Frederick Brown who served with the Canadian Armed Forces during the Second World War.
In honour and remembrance of his father Canadian Army Service Corps Lance Corporal James M. Fitz'Gerald who served during the Second World War and his brother Sergeant Thomas C. Fitz'Gerald who served with the American 82nd Airborne during the Korean War.
Ernest Poliseno OBE (Order of the British Empire recipient):
Who is remembered for his service with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War.
United States of America Flagpole
The executive and members of the Royal Canadian Legion Kemptville Branch #212.
Provided by the Veterans Way Memorial Committee
Steel Park Benches with Bronze Sponsorship Plaques
Owen Fitz'Gerald as an individual and
The Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation Board of Directors of the day including President John Wilson and Directors Alf Campbell, Douglas Brunton, Carl Doucette, Owen Fitz'Gerald, Nadene Grattan, Sally Hamilton, Adam Shewchuk and Chief Operating Officer Ed Patchell.
M109A4+ Self-Propelled Howitzer Memorial Monument
The Veterans Way Memorial Park features a Canadian Armed Forces M109A4+ Self-Propelled Howitzer Memorial Monument and Gate Guard which was made available to our community through the 'Guns for Monuments Program' offered by the Department of National Defence. The decommissioned and demilitarized Howitzer bears CFR# 68-34837 Serial Number 2487.
By way of a brief backgrounder, this Howitzer was part of a fleet of seventy-six (76) guns that served with the 1st and 3rd Regiments of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (1RCHA & 3RCHA) and the 5e Régiment d'artillerie légère du Canada (5RALC). The Howitzers were deployed at military bases in Canada and Germany from 1968 until they were declared surplus to the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces and withdrawn from service in 2005.
A video of the delivery and placement of the Veterans Way Memorial Park M109A4+ Self-Propelled Howitzer can be viewed in an eighteen minute YouTube presentation called 'Howitzer of North Grenville'.
The M109A4+ Self-Propelled Howitzer has an all-welded armoured aluminium hull and turret designed to protect the crew from small arms fire and shrapnel.
Driver control access is made through a hatch cover on the top left front of the hull with three M45 periscopes that provide a forward line of sight when the hatch is closed.
The engine and transmission compartment is positioned to the right front of the driver's position just forward of the turret.
The gunner is normally seated inside the turret and to the left of the cannon while the assistant gunner occupies a seat to the right side of the cannon. Both gunnery positions have hatches on the left and right sides of the turret that open rearward. The turret is capable of rotating in a 360 degree radius and is equipped with an M27 periscope for viewing targets and terrain when the top hatch is closed.
The commander's position has a hatch cover on top of the turret (cupola) that opens towards the rear of the Howitzer. A pintle bracket for an M2 HB .50 calibre machine gun for secondary air/local defence is mounted on top of the turret to the front of the commander's hatch.
There are two outward opening doors at the rear of the turret equipped with a honeycomb-like rack which was used to house a supply of on-board ammunition. Another set of larger doors at ground level at the rear of the hull served to provide access to the interior for the gunners and ammunition loaders.
The vehicle could be stabilized when firing the gun by manually lowering two large retractable 'spades' located on the left and right rear outside corners of the hull.
Veterans Way Memorial Park Dedication Ceremony
The Veterans Way Memorial Park Dedication Ceremony was held on Sunday September 27, 2015 and began with a field concert performed by the prestigious Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces. The ceremony was well attended by local dignitaries, special guests and veterans representing the Army Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada (ANAVETS), Provincial and Zone Command officers of the Royal Canadian Legion (RCL) and the NATO Veterans Organization of Canada (NVOC) along with retired and serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces, their families and friends.
During the ceremony, a dedication plaque erected on a podium style base in front of the M109A4+ Self-Propelled Howitzer was unveiled which reads as follows:
'This Memorial Monument was donated to the Municipality of North Grenville and the Veterans Way Memorial Committee by the Department of National Defence and is dedicated to the memory of those that have served and to those that continue to serve the noble cause of Freedom and Democracy as members of the Canadian Armed Forces.'
Veterans Way Memorial Park Commemorative Tree Plantings
The Veterans Way Memorial Park site is maintained by way of a mutual agreement with the Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation Board of Directors. In conjunction with the wishes of the Veterans Way Memorial Committee, the Ferguson Forest Centre Nursery Operations staff planted several large calliper trees and ornamentals as memorial tributes to those that have paid the supreme sacrifice.
Most recently, seven commemorative trees were added to the central area of the Memorial Park just north of the flagpoles:
- Six Nations Tree of Peace - Eastern White Pine / Pinus strobus
- First World War - White Oak / Quercus alba
- Second World War - Red Oak / Quercus rubra
- Korean War - Bur Oak / Quercus macrocarpa
- Persian Gulf War - Red Maple / Acer rubrum
- Afghanistan - Hard Maple / Acer saccharum
- United Nations and NATO Peacekeeping - Silver Maple / Acer saccharinum
Note: The seven trees are planted in a 'V' for Victory configuration and are individually identified by way of a legend plaque erected on a post in front of the Six Nations Tree of Peace.
A formal Tree Dedication Ceremony was held on Saturday, June 24, 2017 which was presided over by the Ferguson Forest Centre Board of Directors.