Military retiree looking to start Tay memorial banner project this fall
August 16, 2021 By Canadian Press
Aug. 16, 2021 – A retired Canadian Armed Forces member wants to bring the names and faces of those who have fought for our freedoms to the streets of Tay Township in Ontario this fall.
Organizer Christine van Zandbergen’s memorial banner proposal would showcase individuals who have served in Canada’s military and who had lived in Tay at any point in their lives. Selected hydro poles and light fixtures within Port McNicoll, Victoria Harbour, Waubaushene, and Waverley could host the displays between September through November, if the initiative gets up and running.
A retired Canadian Armed Forces pensioner, the Waubaushene resident says she’s aware the project is in its infancy with many details needing to be approached.
“My main focus with this program is to provide all Tay residents with the opportunity to commemorate their loved ones,” wrote van Zandbergen in correspondence to MidlandToday.
According to van Zandbergen, the people who qualify to be featured on the standard 2-foot by 4-foot sized banners are any veteran, member of the military, or RCMP officer from past or present, who has retired or is serving. Street routes haven’t been decided as of yet, but the intention is to have the project visible on light fixtures starting from Tay cenotaphs.
“I can’t think of a single reason people would not support veterans, the military, or members of the RCMP who are from or have lived in their own township,” said van Zandbergen of the community’s involvement.
At the time of this article, both Royal Canadian Legion branches 545 in Port McNicoll and 316 in Waubaushene hadn’t responded to inquiries from MidlandToday as to whether they endorse van Zandbergen’s initiative.
However, Jim Pearson, president of Victoria Harbour Legion Branch 523, shared with MidlandToday that he personally considered van Zandbergen’s initiative to be “a great project” with the matter up for discussion at the legion’s upcoming executive committee meeting.
Tay council praised van Zandbergen’s efforts in organizing the project, with Coun. Sandy Talbot expressing, “It’s a big adventure for this lady to take on, from my perspective.”
Coun. Paul Raymond said, “I strive for anything to advance continued knowledge of our veterans and what they’ve given us,” but spoke a word of caution in van Zandbergen receiving full legion endorsement before council’s commitment to in the program.
Controversy erupted nationwide in 2012 following sales of a knitted poppy project by an unendorsed Fredericton, New Brunswick community, which resulted in that local legion asking those organizers to stop due to trademark infringement.
“I don’t want to see Tay township try and do something honourable,” said Raymond, “and then get caught up in something that hasn’t even been endorsed by our three legions.”
van Zandbergen claimed to be unaware of the 2012 knitted poppy controversy, which Raymond described as “a fiasco,” but affirmed her commitment to proper legion endorsements toward community-driven initiatives.
“As for any controversy, this program is designed to support our entire Tay community and our legions,” said van Zandbergen.
While waiting upon full legion endorsement for the project, van Zandbergen has announced via social media that the cost per banner will be $165 plus tax, with a deadline to order of August 25. Registered businesses have the option of displaying their logos on the banners.
Corporate sponsorship is being sought to offset the cost of hardware bracketing on the memorial banner fixtures, which would be displayed between September 15 through November 15 of this year.
Further information on the project is available by contacting van Zandbergen through social media or by phone at (705) 538-0285.
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