Montreal's Parc de la Cité-du-Havre was renamed Dieppe Park in honour of the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe raid, a deadly World War II battle that set a record for the number of Canadian soldiers killed in a single day.
Members of the federal, provincial and municipal governments gathered in the park with veterans and members of the Canadian Armed Forces Saturday afternoon to remember the battle on August 19, 1942.
- Dieppe: 584 Fusiliers Mont-Royal went in, 125 got out
- 'It was a bad day': Canadian POWs recall disastrous Dieppe raid 75 years later
That day 907 Canadians were killed, another 1,154 were wounded and 1,946 were taken prisoner. The deadly raid is also remembered as a battle that paved the way for the D-Day landings.
Jenny Clarke read a poem on Saturday about Dieppe, This Was My Brother, by Mona McTavish Gould.
Clarke's husband Herbert fought at the battle and was taken prisoner by German soldiers. He later returned to Canada, and passed away in 2000.
She said she was disturbed that some would take up Nazi symbols 75 years later, referencing the rise of far-right and white supremacist groups in North America.
"To even want to think that there could be another Hitler around is disgusting," she said.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre echoed her statement.
"We're living in troubling times in the world. It's important to remember not to make the same mistakes," he said.
"Even if you have some mixed feelings, or different interpretations of what the raid was all about," Coderre said, "I hope that all our fellow citizens find in this space the inspiration to defend democracy and peace."
A commemorative plaque was unveiled Saturday, but a larger monument will be unveiled next year.
Coderre said the park's renaming "reinforces the historic link between Montreal and the deployment of the troops during Operation Jubilee."
During that operation 584 soldiers from the Montreal-based regiment Fusiliers Mont-Royal landed on the beach at Dieppe, but only 125 of them made it back to England that day. Another 344 soldiers were taken prisoner, and 119 were killed.
The ceremony included an artillery salute and the performance of Last Post followed by two minutes of silence.