Remembrance Day

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Lest We Forget - In Flanders Fields - Memorial at John McCrae House, Guelph Ontario

Remembrance Day brings memories for me of a moment of silence in school and of recitations of In Flanders Fields. After having heard the poem recited hundreds of times I still find it moving. I was surprised to learn that the author of In Flanders Fields was a local. Dr. Lt. Col. John McCrae was born in Guelph, Ontario. His birthplace is now an historic site with a garden, a memorial tablet and a small museum in the former McCrae family home.

McCrae House is on Water Street, and the intersecting road is now known as McCrae Boulevard. Guelph is a town that names a portion of their new streets in honour of war casualties. Those streets are designated with a poppy emblem on the street sign with the name of the fallen veteran.

CBC radio has been playing Remembrance Day related items all week, including a wonderful episode of The Vinyl Cafe. The host and narrator of The Vinyl Cafe, Stuart McLean, tells several Remembrance Day stories in this episode that was recorded in 2008. One that stuck with me was the story of Private George Lawrence Price, thought at the time to have been the last casualty of WWI, just two minutes before the Armistice.

The poppy plays a large part in Canadian recognition of their war dead. We see this further in the Highway of Heroes. Canadian soldiers killed in action are repatriated to Canada at Trenton Air Base and taken for an official autopsy at the coroner's office in Toronto. Canadians have been showing their respects for the fallen soldiers by lining the route from Trenton to the coroner's office. These spontaneous demonstrations were recognized with an official designation of that portion of Highway 401 as the Highway of Heroes.

Reassurance shields for Highway 401 and Highway of Heroes

Later, the city of Toronto dedicated the rest of the route, along the Don Valley Parkway, Bloor Street and Bay Street as the Route of Heroes.

Route of Heroes route marker on Don Valley Parkway southbound near York Mills exit

These routes are both recognized with road signs along 401, Don Valley Parkway and Bloor Street, so far.

Route of Heroes route marker on Bloor Street, in the style of Toronto neighbourhood signs

There might be signs along Bay street as well but I didn't see them in a quick survey. On the other hand I did have to keep my eyes on the road.

Highway of Heroes shields rendered with Mapnik 2

Above are the Highway of Heroes shields, rendered alongside the Highway 401 and McDonald Cartier Freeway shields that apply to the full length of Highway 401. These are rendered as an overlay layer, on the sample base map layer provided in the OpenStreetMap book and are rendered with Mapnik2. The route relation for the Highway of Heroes is tagged as



The Route of Heroes shields are shown above on the Don Valley Parkway along with the DVP shields and on their own on the surface streets. This sample rendering can be found at the sometimes available, currently not, shield server at [address removed to protect the server].


This archived article was originally published on Monday, 08 November 2010 - 13:26 and is republished today by request of OpenStreetMap contributor Jerry Clough. Thanks, Jerry!

Jerry has published more of his thoughts on mapping memorials.