Leaside Memorial Community Gardens rededicated its memorial plaque last month, and corrected a mistake.
The plaque, mounted on the old arena and originally dedicated in 1963 during Leaside’s 50th anniversary year, had misspelled the name Walter David Newel, one of the 17 young Leaside soldiers who were killed in World War II.
The plaque had been taken down during construction of the new arena, refurbished and was remounted on the outside of the new rink in time for the Nov. 8 ceremony in Leaside’s 100th anniversary.
“For fifty years it read, Newell,” said arena board chair Ray White. “When this mistake was brought to our attention we felt we had a duty to correct it. And the company we contracted did an outstanding job. This is the original plaque and you wouldn’t know there had ever been an extra letter.”
“My mother was so thrilled to see her brother’s name spelled correctly that she is still talking about it,” said Leaside resident Tim Sellers, who attended the outdoor ceremony along with his mother Pamela Sellers and other Newel relatives. “The fact that 16 members of our families were there, not to mention the family members related to two other fallen soldiers, is a testament to the importance of the event.”
Hazel Lazier, sister-in-law of Vernon Lazier, and Shirley Wilbur, sister of William Wilbur, as well as two nephews of William Wilbur were also in attendance.
Member of Parliament John Carmichael and Councillor John Parker both spoke at the service. Ray White gave a commemorative address in which he reminded everyone that the average age of the 17 men killed was just 22.
“We have created here a gathering place for the children and youth of our community, hockey players and figure skaters alike and it is truly fitting that this place honours our young people from a past generation.”