SUMMARY: VIU video memorial that honours Nanaimo soldiers’ contributions to the First and Second World Wars to be displayed across the city.­­

VIU MEDIA RELEASE: Wednesday, October 31, 2019

NANAIMO, BC: A unique video memorial project aims to tell a piece of the story of the lives of the Nanaimo soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during the First and Second World War.

For 11 days leading up to Remembrance Day, the Nanaimo Remembers project will display the names of more than 200 soldiers in prominent locations across the city. The names have been obtained from the Dallas Square Cenotaph in downtown Nanaimo and a new section this year highlights the contributions of local Indigenous soldiers, thanks to research conducted by Vancouver Island University (VIU) Elder-in-Residence Geraldine Manson.

The project, which launched for the first time last November, was spearheaded by Vancouver Island University’s Marketing, Analytics, Recruitment and Communications department, in collaboration with the University’s Canadian Letters and Images Project (CLIP) and Nanaimo Community Archives. Nanaimo Remembers grew out of a desire to localize a project VIU participated in for many years – The World Remembers, a display tribute to soldiers across the world who lost their lives in the Great War.

Photo Caption: Nanaimo Remembers is a video memorial project spearheaded by Vancouver Island University in collaboration with Nanaimo Community Archives. Check it out at various locations across Nanaimo, and on VIU’s YouTube channel. Photo Credit: Vancouver Island University

“For me, the impact of this project is that glimpse into the lives of these soldiers that we are providing, including their connection to the community,” says Dr. Stephen Davies, Director of CLIP. “In some cases, we tell people what area of Nanaimo they lived in, and what their occupations were before they went into service for their country.”

Information shared about each soldier, where available, includes their name, rank and battalion, when they died and at what age, where they were buried, their occupation, and their connection to Nanaimo.

The video presentation will run continuously from November 1 – 11, 2019, on the large screen in the Welcome Centre (Building 300 at VIU’s Nanaimo campus). It will also be showcased at several locations in the community during this time:

·         Through the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools’ website, social media accounts and at participating schools;

·         At City of Nanaimo facilities, including Beban Park and Oliver Woods Community Centre;

·         At the Harbourfront, Nanaimo North and Wellington locations of the Vancouver Island Regional Library;

·         At the Nanaimo Museum;

·         At Woodgrove Centre in Centre Court;

·         And at the Port Theatre on November 11.

After the project finished last year, VIU heard from several people who had seen their ancestors’ names on the screens.

“They were quite moved that we are honouring their relatives in this way,” he says. “We hope to add to the project every year in an effort to help shine a light on the incredible contributions and sacrifices made by local soldiers and their families.”

Check out the project at one of the participating locations above, or visit VIU’s YouTube channel.