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Friday, August 16, 2013
Premier Greg Selinger (right) was joined by Battle of Hong Kong veteran George Peterson at the unveiling of a picture of the new commemorative plaza being built by the city and province to honour seven soldiers from Arden Avenue (the Arden 7) who all fought and were captured at the Battle of Hong Kong in 1941. Mr. Peterson is the last surviving member of the Arden
August 16, 2013
PROVINCE, CITY HONOUR LOCAL HONG KONG VETERANS WITH COMMEMORATIVE PLAZA
Seven young men from Arden Avenue in Winnipeg, who volunteered, fought and were captured during the Battle of Hong Kong in 1941, will be honoured with a new park plaza dedicated to their memory, Premier Greg Selinger and Mayor Sam Katz announced today.
“We are proud to honour the seven young men who as friends, neighbours and comrades joined our armed forces to battle, under the most horrific conditions, for the freedom that we now enjoy,” said Selinger. “The peace and tranquility of this new interpretive plaza will be an appropriate place to reflect and remind all those who visit of the courage and dedication of these men. We will remember them.”
“The story of the Arden Seven is one that all Winnipeggers should know,” said Katz. “The Arden Seven Interpretive Plaza will honour these seven friends and brothers who fought so bravely and endured terrible conditions during their service in Hong Kong, and will serve as a permanent reminder of their courage and service.”
The men served in the Winnipeg Grenadiers during the Second World War and included Fred Abrahams (also known as Fred Harting), Bill Lancaster, twin brothers George and Morris Peterson, and brothers Alfred, Edward and Harry Shayler. All seven survived the Battle of Hong Kong.
After 17 days of intense fighting, 290 Canadians were killed and another 493 wounded during the battle. Those who survived were taken prisoner and endured nearly four years of captivity in Japanese prisoner-of-war and work camps.
Funding from the Province of Manitoba and City of Winnipeg through the Building Communities Initiative (BCI) II will provide $75,000 for the interpretative plaza to be located in Jules Mager Park, at the corner of St. Michael Road and River Road in St. Vital. It will feature seven chairs symbolizing the seven friends who served together, landscaped berms and retaining walls, pathways and commemorative plaques in both official languages telling their story.
This project is one of 38 BCI II, Phase Two projects announced in March. A total of $8,848,500 in community improvements throughout Winnipeg has been committed so far. Additional projects will be approved in the coming months for a total of $10 million over the next two years.
The BCI II is a multi-year, cost-shared capital initiative developed jointly by the Manitoba government and the City of Winnipeg to support community revitalization through improvements to local community infrastructure in targeted older neighbourhoods and contribute to the vitality, safety and health of communities throughout the city.
Phase One of BCI II provided a total of $10 million between 2010 and 2013. Of the 37 approved projects under the first phase, 31 have been completed with the remaining six to be completed in the 2013 construction season. Projects included improving athletic fields, playgrounds and structures, splash pads, lighting, seating, pathways in parks, upgrades and expansion of community centres. Projects are selected in consultation with key stakeholders and community groups.