Why I Support the Creation of Valour District

At our council meeting this past Tuesday, one of the important topics discussed was the proposed creation of Valour District. The proposed district would recognize our military history here in Kingston through the creation of new street signs with a red poppy, the symbol of remembrance, and the words ‘Valour District’.  The signs would replace or be added to the signs in the proposed district stretching from the Kingston Armouries on Montreal Street to Fort Frontenac on Ontario Street.

The community engagement conducted by the city received both positive and negative feedback on the idea of creating the Valour District. In fact, the feedback was about 50% in favour and 50% opposed. I always keep an open mind and consider all perspectives and opinions before coming to a decision. But now, after having read the comments and considered the idea, I am firmly in favour of the creation of Valour District.

The tipping point for me was being a part of this week’s ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the departure of the 21st Battalion from Kingston. On May 5, 1915, three quarters of the entire population of Kingston lined the streets to say goodbye to young soldiers on their way to the battlefields of World War I. The Great War and the conflicts that followed are terrible events in world history. Commemorating such events is in no way to romanticize or glorify, but instead to pay tribute to those who fought and many who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the peace and prosperity we enjoy today.

The creation of Valour District is to honour the memory of young men and women who were willing to sacrifice their lives in order to serve our country, like those in the 21st Battalion. Even today, while we can disagree on the politics of military involvement in conflicts around the world, surely we can all agree that a soldier who accepts the order to risk their life in a war zone is demonstrating valour. It is this demonstration of valour that we recognize every November 11. And it is this demonstration of valour that we should recognize in Kingston through the creation of Valour District.

6 Responses

  1. David McDonald says:

    I have also read all the comments and would argue that they are not 50/50, as the mayor suggests. The arguments in favour of naming the district Valour are largely just repetitions of the same basic theme – Kingston is a military town and we need to support the troops. Arguments against, on the other hand, are much more diverse in their justification, ranging from concerns with the glorification of war, to questions of whether a district should be named after a sentiment, to more technical matters of process and representivity. I found these latter arguments much more compelling and wide-ranging. In qualitative terms they probably make up 90% of the contributions.

  2. The Valour District creation diminishes the contributions of the City’s Aboriginal, French and Industrial Heritage. That district should be recognized for more than valour. The Memorial Centre should be the focus for remembrance of valour.

  3. Martha Rudden says:

    I would far rather see us celebrate a peace themed area name. My father fought in the Netherlands in the Second World War, and he was forever altered by the horrors he experienced. War should definitely be remembered, but never glorified and celebrated. Please focus on peace, not war.

  4. Hannah Kaufman says:

    I’m strongly against calling this district the Valour District. We already have the lovely memorial at the Memorial Cemtre, as well as the armoury. There is much more history stemming from the district than just war related events and buildings. It also glorifies war, not peace.

  5. Bronek Korczynski says:

    Mayor Patterson, I must respectfully disagree with your position on the so-called Valour District for many of the reasons already recorded in the city staff’s report on the matter. We already have many suitable commemorative markers in the city related to those who served Canada in recent international conflicts. When is enough, enough? As the recommendations of the recent report on Commemorations and Memorials makes clear, there are numerous other groups/issues that would more appropriately garner such recognition. I urge you, and Council, to accept that report and its conclusions regarding the so-called Valour District proposal.

  6. Carolyn Boyce says:

    Very bad choice! It is too narrow a focus. Many people and groups have made Kingston what it is. It even sounds awful.

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