You may have seen the Cloverdale Cenotaph while driving by 56th Avenue. The white granite monument with a man kneeling on top, his eyes somberly fixed on the ground beneath him, a rifle gripped in his hands.
May 22, 1921, is the birth date of the Cloverdale Cenotaph. Surrey’s First World War memorial was built, initially, to honour those who fell in the great World War. Twenty-three names and places of where Surrey soldiers who lost their lives in battle are inscribed on the monument. On top of the Cenotaph was a German field gun, commonly known as a ‘Whizz Bang’ that had been brought back by the Canadian 47th Battalion. Ceremonies of remembrance were held on August 4th, but with the start of the Second World War, the Whizz Bang was removed and melted down for its metal, and Remembrance Day would coincide with armistice day, November 11th, 1918.
In 2005, the memorial was modified to include memorials for the Second World War, Korea, and Peace Keeping missions. The statue, called “Kneeling in Remembrance”, was placed atop of the Cenotaph, and depicts a soldier in 47th Battalion insignia, among other enhancements.
The Cenotaph, which has moved several times in its nearly century-long existence, is now called Veterans Square and is the site of the annual Surrey Remembers ceremony which typically takes place on November 11.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal Canadian Cloverdale Legion has planned a much smaller, invitation-only, event limited to a maximum of 50 participants who will lay wreaths in an intimate ceremony to commemorate the day.
Members of the public are asked not to come to the site, or other past ceremony locations and instead show their respect by interacting online, sharing comments, photos, stories, and liking related content. Residents are also encouraged to place a poppy on their window at home and share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #RememberInPlace.
The City of Surrey will be live streaming the ceremony on Facebook Live from 10:30 am – 11:30 am. Tune in to pay your respects.