Monday, April 19, 2010

Mimico War Memorial

Mimico War Memorial - Vimy Ridge Park, Mimico
© Michael Harrison 2010

According to New Toronto In Story and Picture, the Lake Shore Chapter of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (I.O.D.E.) was founded in September 1914 when "Mrs. Forbes Godfrey invited Mrs. F. Fetherstonhaugh, organizer for the I.O.D.E. to assist in organizing a chapter in the district comprising New Toronto, Mimico, Humber Bay and Etobicoke."  The new chapter was called "The Union Jack". 

Following World War One the chapter set about the work to create a fitting monument to those who had served and those who had lost their lives.  They set about to create a Memorial Park in Mimico.  In 1921 the voters of Mimico approved expenditures to add to the funds already raised by the Union Jack Chapter of the I.O.D.E. to purchase land for the park.  About the same time plaques listing the names of those who had served and those that had died were placed in the park.  Work on a war memorial began in 1930 at a gore shaped park on the Lake Shore Road.  According to the Globe and Mail, on October 12, 1930 more than 5000 people assembled at the Lake Shore Road and Queens Drive after parading from Memorial Park to the site via Church Street (Royal York Road), Mimico Avenue and the Lake Shore Road to attend the unveiling of the Mimico war memorial.  "Following a hymn ex-Mayor, W. E. Savage called upon Mrs. W.H. Riddleworth, mother of the first Mimico soldier to fall in the Great War, to unveil the memorial.  Then Rev. William Fingland, himself a veteran, stepped forward and slowly read the names of those men who had left Mimico to serve their country, and who never returned.  One by one as they were read, the silence was broken only by the sobs of mothers and widows who had gathered to witness the ceremony in honor (sic) of their loved ones."  There was discussion at the time to move the plaques to the memorial site, however the idea generated some controversy, and the plaques remained in Memorial Park.  It was only after 1967 when the Town of Mimico was dissolved and amalgamated with the Borough of Etobicoke that they were also moved and joined up with the cenotaph in present day Vimy Ridge Park at Lake Shore Blvd. West and Queens Avenue.

© Michael Harrison 2010