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Remembering their last steps

“The Last Steps” Memorial in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Photo: Courtesy of Ken Hynes


Purr! I brought in an antique life preserver from a warship for our Heritage Fair project because I love naval history. Did you know that in times of war, cats like me served on ships as mascots?
They also helped the sailors by catching rats onboard so they would not nibble on the men’s important food supply.

Back in the First and Second World Wars, hundreds of thousands of Canadians sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to serve overseas. Recently, a wooden archway called “The Last Steps” was built as a special memorial on the Halifax waterfront. Dozens of boot prints are burned into the boardwalk leading up to it. They symbolize the last steps of the many soldiers who never returned home to set foot again on Canadian soil.

Over in Europe, there is a similar memorial called “Canada Gate” that also has boot prints burned into the walkway. The village of Passchendaele, Belgium, was chosen as the site because more than half of Canada’s First World War dead lie in the surrounding area known as Flanders. Both the arch and the gate honour the tens of thousands of Canadians who died many years ago and remind us of our commitment to always remember them. Lest we forget.

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