Highway of Heroes ceremony celebrated in Ste. Anne’s


PHOTO BY KIERAN McCAFFREY

Students, veterans, and volunteers gather in the Ste. Anne’s Hospital Auditorium, educating and humouring one another while they await the beginning of the November 6 Highway of Heroes Ceremony.

In a one-hour ceremony held November 6, 2017, Ste. Anne’s Veterans’ Hospital, with the support of Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) de l'Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, hosted the Highway of Heroes Ceremony in recognition of the passing of 100 years since World War I.

The hospital’s auditorium was decorated with the valour of Canada’s Veterans, while the voices of guest speakers resonated with the audience, both senior and youth alike. The guest speakers were, in order, WWII Lt. Wolf Solkin, Kerri Tadeau and retired Master Corporal Collin Fitzgerald, as well as representatives from Quilts of Valour-Canada. A musical performance by Vincent Massey Collegiate set the tone for a light and spirited atmosphere.

Cleaning up the Highway of Heroes

Tadeau and Fitzgerald spoke about their project earlier this year, which focused on cleaning up the Highway of Heroes, beginning in April 2017 and consisting of getting up at 4 a.m. and cleaning all the on- and off-ramps along the 172-kilometre stretch of the Highway of Heroes (Highway 401) from Trenton to Keele Street in Ontario. Additionally, they led an initiative to adopt a 1.2-kilometre stretch of the Highway of Heroes.

The impact of intergeneration interaction

Students from a local school and young volunteer workers both participated in organizing and attending the ceremony. Throughout the ceremony, the dividing lines of generations were blurred, as sympathy, ardent memories and smiles were shared amongst all who attended.

When people are raised in different time periods, their values and perceptions of the world can be quite different, and this can lead to difficulties in understanding one another. This was a subject touched on by Tadeau. Fitzgerald also explained how they, “…seek to educate, motivate and inspire Canadians to respect and appreciate the veterans,” connecting us all through a common memory, building a sense of community involving all generations and ensuring all heroes’ names echo with continuity.

Quilts of Valour

Quilts of Valour - Canada was founded in 2006 by Lezley Zwaal in Edmonton Alberta. According to the QOVC website, their mission statement is to provide a sense of comfort to all of Canada’s injured military personnel and veterans. Representative Mary Ewing recalled that Zwaal discovered Canadian Veterans were coming home from war without a sense of comfort. She decided to make a change with Quilts of Valour.

QOVC has significant members across the country whose creations have been presented to over 7000 injured CAF members and veterans. The group’s goal is to reach out to 10,000 injured CAF members and veterans with Quilts of Valour by 2018.

The group wants to ensure that injured Canadian Forces members are recognized for their service and commitment to Canada by providing hand-crafted quilts to past and present members of the Armed Forces as a token of gratitude for their service.

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