Argyle Community Association requests municipal recognition of Vimy Ridge Park

A strip of land at Hale and Trafalgar streets in London known locally as Vimy Ridge Park.
A strip of land at Hale and Trafalgar streets in London known locally as Vimy Ridge Park. 980 CFPL

The Argyle Community Association is asking for forgiveness rather than permission as it asks to have a strip of land already known as Vimy Ridge Park officially designated by the city.

The issue goes before the Community and Protective Services committee on Wednesday.

Argyle Community Association outreach chair Shawn Lewis noted that there’s a sculpture, flags, and benches already in place on the strip of land next to the Charlie Fox roundabout at Hale Street and Trafalgar Street.

“All of the materials have been donated by local businesses. MP Irene Mathyssen and MPP Teresa Armstrong donated the flags that fly on the flagpoles. Former city councillor Bud Polhill actually donated the flagpoles,” he explained.

“There’s been all kinds of positive indicators from all levels of government, including a letter from the mayor for the Remembrance Day event that they held in the parkette last November, where the mayor himself referred to it as ‘Vimy Park.'”

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The Battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War has major historical significance for Canada. It marks the first instance in which all four Canadian divisions fought cohesively and helped to forge a feeling of national unity and identity.

City staff recommend that the city hold the land because it could be used in future provincial rapid-transit plans but Lewis argued staff have little choice in that recommendation.

“It’s absolutely the reason we have elected representatives, so that when the bureaucracy has no choice because they have to follow the letter, the politicians can overrule it with the spirit of the intent of the bylaws.”