Proposed back in 1918, it officially opened in 1921. Plans of that time called for the planting of over 600 Londonplane trees along the entire route. Hundreds got planted but never the numbers originally called for. Some of those planted died off, and others had to be removed for street widening etc.
Rather than becoming known as Memorial Avenue, over the years it has adopted the name Shelbourne Avenue.
The above plaque evidences that France's Field Marshall Joffre was in the city on other business in 1922 and actually planted a tree in this area. It is unknown if the above tree was the one he planted.
A blog search on this site should bring up some information about PEI born nurse Beatrice MacDonald, and in that you will read of General Joffre and that nurse, who has been recognized as the nurse in WW 1 who was awarded more medals than any other of the war... from any country.
In the 1960's some school students located the Joffre plaque laying in the grass and took it to their school. They in turn presented it to the Saanich Archives where it is safely secured. It is often dusted off and put on temporary display.
I believe that when original plans for the creation of Memorial Avenue were on the table for discussion about a century ago, some thought went into creating some sort of marker at both ends of the avenue indicated the significance of the road. Such was certainly on the table over recent years when a new group formed to rectify what they were calling... the Street of Unfinished Dreams.
Something similar to this image has been put on the table and further developments in this regard await fruition.
I am told the Londonplane leaf is actually yellow in color, but red was adopted to represent the massive loss of blood on the battlefields of the Great War. The Maple Leaf image was also chosen for obvious reasons. With permission from the Royal Canadian Legion, two poppies also are incorporated into the design.
The lower image shows what the signs along the route would look like. And in fact they do. There are many already mounted and I see them almost daily as I travel this road. Many of my friends have shared very positive comments as well when seeing them displayed, and being reminded daily of the importance of our military back then... and to this day.
So far there have been 5 locations where interpretive signs have been mounted. Presumably more are to come.
I should note that the gathering of images and the trying to piece them together has been a challenge as has also been the case with the weather of late. I should also add that a great friend and follower of these blogs assisted with the gathering, several times, of these images, and so a big shout out to someone I shall just call RC. They know who they are.
above panels located at the N/E corner of San Juan and Shelbourne. The second interpretative sign is along the western side of Shelbourne and just north of Cedarglen Road. The third, on the same side of the street, is just north of Blair Avenue. The fourth is at the North East corner Mortimer and Shelbourne. The fifth is on west side of Shelbourne and within the very small park called Gore Peace Memorial Park and located to the north of Church Street.
I shall return on Sunday to tell you about the remaining four signs.
Hope to see you then.