On Saturday April 4th the Port Moody Heritage Society was proud to host the dedication and unveiling ceremony of the McKnight Heritage Plaque at the Port Moody Arts Centre, the original Port Moody City Hall building. Immediately following, a second ceremony took place at the Port Moody Station Museum to reveal the McKnight Centennial Trench Exhibit. The trench is named in honour of Lieutenant Augustus Wilberforce McKnight, a Port Moody resident and city engineer who served and died in the First World War.
The Port Moody Heritage Society would like to thank volunteers Guy Black, Alan Fox, Markus Fahrner, John Goheen, Sonny Son and Cary Price; staff Jim Millar, who designed and built the Trench. These dedicated volunteers came out even when the weather was horrible and worked hard for the past 7 months. We would also like to thank the members of the 6 Engineer Squadron Cadet Corps and the Royal Westminster Regiment Cadet Corps of Maple Ridge and Aldergrove who devoted hundreds of hours to laying barbed wire, digging shell craters; filling and piling hundreds of sandbags. This exhibit would never have been possible without the help and dedication of all these volunteers. We appreciate all their hard work and their passion shows through this incredible exhibit that has been termed ‘emotionally moving’.
This project has had many supporters, a big thank you goes out to the following: Veterans Affairs Canada, Province of British Columbia , Flavelle Saw Mill Company, Tree Island Steel, Burnaby Bag & Burlap, Plateau Cleaners, Wavor Wire Ltd , Western Command Military Vehicle Historical Society, Honourary Colonel James Happer CD, 6th Field Engineer Regiment , Sgt. Angus Todd, Canadian Armed Forces , 2573 6th Engineer Squadron RCACC , Yellow Dog Brewing Company, 1838 Royal Westminster Regiment, (Maple Ridge) RCACC, 1922 Royal Westminster Regiment, (Aldergrove) RCACC, and anonymous donors for the many in kind donations. Thank you to everyone that have made donations through www.fundaid.ca/tothetrenches especially Colin Fox , Keith Magee and Brenda Millar.
The trench took volunteers seven months to dig by hand, and will be used to educate people on what life was like for soldiers during the First World War. The McKnight trench was created not to promote war but to educate about World War 1 and to remember and pay tribute to all the individuals that have fought or still fight for our freedoms.
The Trench exhibit is open to the public but we are a bit ahead of ourselves in that all the signage and programming is not in place. We have applied for a Heritage Canada, World War Commemorative Community grant to help. We hope to have everything ready for July 1, 2015 and will continue adding additional displays and events though to November 11, 2018.
The ceremony at the Museum was briefly disrupted by four ignorant and disrespectful protesters who appeared to have more of a political agenda then their sign of “Gardens not war” indicated. If they had of taken 2 minutes to look at our website or 30 seconds to call the Museum, they would have educated themselves in the fact that we are not promoting war. This is a historically accurate exhibit that was created to educate on the facts of war not to glorify it.
During the ceremony, the ringleader yelled out that we are teaching children about war. My answer was absolutely yes; we want children to know the sacrifices and hardships of war so maybe WW1 as the ‘War to End All Wars’ may still become a reality. When the ringleader was told we have a Mediation Garden beside the Trench, he thought that was wrong. I feel he just needs to read the sign on the Garden and meditate for awhile.
Jim Millar, Executive Director
VIEWING THE TRENCH
The Trench can be viewed from the back deck of the Museum during regular Museum open times: 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm Wednesday to Sunday; after Victoria Day, daily 10:00am to 5:00 pm. Also, if we are successful with grants to hire summer students, we hope to have guided tours in the Trench.
Group tours are possible when booked in advance so that a volunteer guide can be arranged.