Nov 11, 2012

Riverside Veterans' Park Cenotaph

In honour of Remembrance Day here in Canada, it seemed fitting to finally post this photo set of Medicine Hat's Riverside Veterans' Memorial Park and Cenotaph. I say finally, because this was actually one of the first shoots I did for my Around the Hat photo series back in March of this year (and have since updated with winter shots in February 2013). I first shared images of the WW2 Tank Memorial and Canadian Pacific Trains that are located here, and came back in September to photograph a few of the fall colours in this beautiful location.

Riverside Park is located downtown across from City Hall and borders the South Saskatchewan River from an embankment. The cenotaph was added to the park after World War I, and has been modified over the decades to honour those local residents lost in following wars. A ceremony takes place here every Remembrance Day to acknowledge their sacrifice.

Given the central location of the park, Riverside has long been a meeting point for communal gatherings. Recently, it's been the location of the annual Spectrum celebrations, but in the past it's also played host to political rallies and other significant civic events. I found several archival images showing Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier speaking in the park in 1910, as well as one of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau speaking in 1968. There was also a cool image of a sign welcoming soldiers home shown above the park's entrance after the end of World War I. 

The park has changed dramatically since being established in 1910, most noticeably with the brickwork and fountains that have been added over the years. I saw a picture of my family posing next to the trains in Riverside from the mid to late 1980s and there were no paths or planters surrounding it. It made me realize just how much has changed here in my lifetime. Riverside Park is more than just a beautiful space, it's a culturally significant location at the heart of the city.  

Prime Minister Laurier at the band stand in Riverside Park ca. 1910

Wilfrid Laurier speaking in Riverside Park ca. 1910

Welcome Home Soldiers sign in Riverside Park ca. 1918/1919

Medicine Hat Memorial Cenotaph ca. 1960s

Pierre Trudeau in Riverside Park ca. 1968

Riverside Park postcard ca. 1916
Tank Memorial and Canadian Pacific Train landmark.

Medicine Hat Cenotaph postcard dated between 1920-1940.

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