May we always remember.
And Malvern Collegiate students and neighbours have a helping hand to do so with a restored cenotaph, its arm raised high before the school.
That was the sentiment expressed on Nov. 4 as Malvern rededicated its memorial to students who lost their lives in the First World War.
A fundraising effort by the Malvern Red and Black Society amassed $44,000 to restore the 89-year-old cenotaph, which was missing a right hand and sword as a result of the elements and vandalism. The base, letters and surface of the granite monument were also restored.
The statue, sculpted in 1922, is dedicated to 25 former Malvern Collegiate Institute students killed in the First World War.
“Today is the day we can finally all celebrate that our wonderful granite guardian has been restored to its former glory,” Malvern Collegiate’s principal Line Pinard said to the audience. “This incredible transformation of Emanual Hahn’s masterpiece took place because many people, many of whom are here with us today, cared, remembered, persevered and worked together.”
Donors included Veteran Affairs Canada, the Toronto District School Board, Pace Credit Union and many individuals in the community. A grant from Veteran Affairs Canada allowed for the hiring of a professional conservator so the restoration would be historically accurate.
Several hundred members of the community attended the unveiling, including government officials, war veterans and families of the students.
The president of the Toronto District School Board War Veterans’ Association, Anton Kulchin, said he was surprised at how many people attended to remember those who had fallen in service of Canada.
“I’m surprised and thankful that the interest still exists, and the appreciation is still there,” he said. “It’s a great feeling.”
Beaches-East York MP Matthew Kellway, a son of a Second World War veteran and grandson of a First World War veteran said he was honoured to be in attendance and grateful for the opportunity to be part of the unveiling.
“I think these war memorials and cenotaphs should play an important part in the lives of our kids,” he said. “Not only for remembering those that fought and died in the service of this country, but also as markers on the road to peace for the new generation.”
Kellway commended the work of all the donors and the school community for working tirelessly to raise the necessary funds to restore the cenotaph.
“I think what the parent community has done here, with the financial help from others of course, is fantastic,” he said. “There’s been a kind of inevitability in getting it done; it was just a matter of when.”