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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Kingsville museum unveils Veterans Memorial Maple Tree

by Sylene Argent

Volunteers of museums and not-for-profit organizations continuously have to think of new and exciting ways to engage the public and raise funds for their causes.

On Friday, Katherine Gunning, a volunteer with the Kingsville Historical Park Museum, announced an exciting endeavour that will raise funds for the museum, honour veterans, and add colour to the facility that houses around 12,000 historic artifacts, related to local servicemen and women who have served their Country.

The Veterans Memorial Maple Tree program will add metal leaves, brilliantly painted, to a metal tree frame that adorns one of the Museum’s walls. A metal maple leaf can be purchased for $25 and will be placed on the tree frame in remembrance of a veteran.

Donators are asked to provide a photo and some information about the veteran, whose background will be noted and placed in a folder and into a computer presentation. Donators are also given a metal leaf to take home.

“The volunteers of the Kingsville Historical Park Museum have always felt this Museum has been a memorial to all veterans who have served, but we have added these metal sculptures to establish an additional memorial within our building,” Gunning said.

“The Veterans Memorial Maple Tree is an additional remembrance of the veterans. As a universal symbol of Canada, the tree, with its colourful leaves, is to recognize, honour, and be a forever memorial to the veterans by their family and friends.”

Gunning said volunteers at the Museum came up with the idea for the remembrance. Cottam artist Terri-Ann Wilson and assistant Kaela Henderson from Steel Appeal created the metal tree sculpture.

“We wish to thank her for her inspiration, creation and installation of the maple trees that adorn our walls,” Gunning said.

Wilson commented she was thankful to have been a part of the project. Being able to get involved with the creation of the sculpture was a great way to honour those who have protected Canadian freedoms, and those who continue to do so, through their service, she added.

Mayor of LaSalle and Deputy Warden of Essex County, Ken Antaya, brought greetings from the County to the event. Though he had never visited the Museum before, he saw right away it was a quiet place of reflection. He would like to see youth in the Museum, learning about the history of local servicemen and women through the many artifacts onsite.

“This is fantastic. It’s quite the remembrance,” he said, adding he will have to come back to the Museum in the near future to peruse the items onsite.

Before the event wrapped up, Gunning led the attendees in thanking the veterans in attendance for their service.

The Kingsville Historical Park Museum officially opened to the public on August 12, 2000. Honouring the 18-year anniversary was a consideration in choosing the date of the unveiling event. Also, the 76th anniversary of The Dieppe Raid was being recognized as it took place on August 19, 1942.

“The Dieppe Raid and the Essex Scottish is the focus of some of our displays in the Museum. It is also quite fitting that several veterans who participated in that Raid are some of the first to be recognized by leaves on the Veterans Memorial Maple Trees and roll of honour,” Gunning said.

Recently, the Museum received support of Kingsville Council as a bylaw was passed to provide an exemption from property tax through the Assessment Act. MPAC has received and acknowledged the exemption, which Gunning said was great news.


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