Souris unveils war memorial years in the making

The Town of Souris has officially unveiled a war memorial eleven years in the making that features about 1,800 names of Souris veterans.

The monument features about 1,800 names of Souris veterans

A new monument in Souris was unveiled at a ceremony Sunday and features the names of about 1,800 local veterans. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

The Town of Souris, P.E.I., has officially unveiled a war memorial eleven years in the making that features about 1,800 names of Souris veterans.

The monument, a project of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 3 and funded by Veterans Affairs Canada, was revealed at a ceremony Sunday. 

"It's been a long-time dream of mine to do something like this," said Legion President David Perry, whose grandfathers both fought in the First World War.

"I figured that history was worth something and I want to keep that alive in the community," he said. 

Perry and other local residents were able to see their family members' names engraved on the monument.

"It's an honour to see them looking for those names and recognizing the work that has gone into that. It brings out the meaning for them in what the community's about," Perry said.

A lasting legacy

For Susan Leard, the monument is a testament to her father Waldron Leard's work. He helped compile thousands of names for the memorial and died before seeing it completed.

"It's amazing because it's something that will be there for all time for the community," Leard said.

Susan Leard (right) and her mother Fern Leard remember Waldron Leard, Susan's father. Waldron helped research thousands of names for the monument, but didn't live to see the project come to be. He died in 2015 from cancer. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"I know my father would have been extremely proud to see it finished, so I carry that pride in me knowing that he had a hand helping it be here."

Waldron Leard was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and died in 2015, but his family says even in his final years he would dedicate his time to research for the monument.

"I think he'd be pretty proud of the whole thing. Ecstatic, I think, to think that it was finally accomplished," said Waldron's wife Fern Leard. 

Legion re-opened

The Souris Legion also had its grand re-opening Sunday, after months of renovations.

"The Legion itself was in dire need," said Perry.

The Souris Legion also had a grand unveiling Sunday. The hall had been under renovations since May. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

The hall was built in the 1950s and needed its electrical system, plumbing and windows replaced.

The Legion received a total of $270,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the province for the renovation.

"We want to make it a community facility, not only for veterans but for everybody," Perry said. "We figured we had to do something to maintain the history of the town."


  • An earlier version of this story said the memorial has been eight years in the making, which is what David Perry initially told CBC. In fact, it has been eleven years in the making.
    Nov 06, 2017 4:34 PM AT