New monument in Bowmanville, Ont. honours Canadian soldiers

Bowmanville, Ont. has become the latest community to receive a new monument that pays tribute to Canadian soldiers who fought in Afghanistan.

Light armoured vehicle pays tribute to Canadian Armed Forces members who served in Afghanistan

A new monument in Bowmanville, Ont., east of Toronto, honours Canadian soldiers who served in Afghanistan. (Lorenda Reddekopp/CBC)

Bowmanville, Ont. has become the latest community to receive a new monument that pays tribute to Canadian soldiers who served in Afghanistan.

The monument, officially known as the Highway of Heroes Durham LAV Monument, sits in Clarington Fields on Baseline Road in Bowmanville, about 75 km east of Toronto.

It was constructed from a decommissioned light armoured vehicle and unveiled at a special ceremony on Saturday.

The large green military vehicle honours more than 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces members who served in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014 and 162 Canadians died in Afghanistan. 

Tom Quigley, project director of the LAV III monument, said the vehicle is an important symbol to Canadian soldiers because it helped to protect them from improvised explosives devices and suicide bombers. 

A LAV III is an all-weather military vehicle, made out of steel, that can hold up to 10 passengers and travel up to 100 km/h. 

"When you were deployed and you were in Afghanistan, this was your piece of Canada. This was your RV. It was where you lived out of. That was how you travelled," he said.

Logan Caswell, a Ontario man whose brother, Trooper Darryl Caswell, was killed in a roadside bombing north of Kandahar in Afghanistan in 2007, said he helped to raise money to bring the vehicle to the park that is near a section of Highway 401 known as the Highway of Heroes.

Darryl Caswell, the 57th Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan, was with the Royal Canadian Dragoons based at Petawawa, Ont.

Logan said he remembers the tribute paid by people who stood on bridges overlooking Highway 401 when his brother's body came home.

"The community was huge. I mean the Bowmanville Zoo brought an elephant out there. The amount of people was unbelievable," he said.

Through the LAV III monument program, up to 250 decommissioned vehicles will be placed in communities across Canada.

Each community that wants a vehicle is responsible for most of the costs, which is $17,500, plus the cost of transport from London, Ont. where the monuments are made.

The monuments themselves are non-functional. All equipment has been stripped out of the LAVs, and only the shells remain.