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Veterans Memorial Park at Bass River Receives National Award
BASS RIVER - The Cobequid Veterans Memorial Park has been named the top garden of remembrance in the nation.
Ken Jamieson, chairman of the park management committee, said the group is honoured to receive such high recognition during the National Communities In Bloom (CIB) awards held Oct. 26 in Ottawa.
"I can't believe it, we have the No. 1 garden of remembrance in Canada," said Jamieson. "That is just a huge, huge factor for this area.
"For the community, for the students, for the county and this province to have such a thing in the middle of nowhere is phenomenal. It gives people a reason to come to this area and see something that is one of a kind."
The gardens of remembrance program was a new addition to the national CIB awards this year. The goal and objectives of the program are to showcase gratitude to veterans, along with recognizing the sacrifices made by their families.
"For me personally, nothing pleases me more than to see (Dr.) Ewing get the recognition she deserves because she created a one-of-a-kind gem."
Jamieson credits Dr. Karen Ewing for the idea, planning and development of the garden supported by the community.
"We worked very hard," he said. "We recognized so many veterans that are constantly overlooked."
The park was established in 2008 by the committee with the financial support of government and community raised funds.
It features eight, themed granite stones bearing the names of military personnel, three themed gardens and benches placed in honour of family members who continue to support those who serve.
"It is a park of remembrance in honouring Canadian military who have given the ultimate sacrifice, who have served in military in times of war and peace, as well as honouring those who continue to serve and their families," said the chairman.
He said it is a place where people come to reflect and feel "safe."
Jamieson spends a great deal of time in the park, especially during summer months when he offers tours of the garden to visitors.
Along the way he has encountered countless veterans who have shared their personal stories, inspired by their surroundings.
"It's a powerful, powerful, thing to listen to what they have experienced and what they have seen," said Jamieson.
He feels "awed" about what is shared, moved to pass on stories inspired by park settings to others so "that they know it will be remembered."
The park was one of six in Canada selected to receive 2,000 tulip bulbs as a finalist prior to the awards ceremony.
As the winner, the committee has also received $1,500, which Jamieson said will be used for general maintenance.