Local resident makes significant donation to Cenotaph restoration fund

Southampton Cenotaph restoration fundraising campaign is one step closer to its goal thanks to a significant personal donation by Mike Jukes, past-President of Southampton Legion Branch 155.

      (L) Mike Jukes, Southampton Ward Councillor Cheryl Grace & Marjorie Sarauz,                                                  Town Customer Service Coordinator

“The legion has been part of this community since its inception and I am proud to be a long time member of the branch, the Executive and was President for 4.5 years,” said Jukes.

Approximately five years ago when Jukes was President, Legion member John Willetts and a committee suggested to the Executive that there was interest in establishing a Cenotaph committee, and presented a proposal.  Jukes and the Executive approved the proposal and the planning process began with the Community Cenotaph Committee.

“As the process went along,” adds Jukes, “we kept abreast of the key specialists that were being contacted regarding the project, and also the regular communications ongoing with the Town, the Legion, the Southampton BIA and other interested parties.”

“Along with the support of the Legion and other community groups, I too wanted to express my personal support,” adds Jukes, “and I hope this encourages other individuals and organizations to support this very important Southampton legacy project. I am only too happy to have this opportunity to be a part of this historical project.”

                            Existing Southampton Cenotaph (2024)

The Cenotaph is a central part of the community, an important reaffirmation and  expression of the community’s deep appreciation and respect for those who paid the ‘supreme sacrifice’. It represents an opportunity for education and reflection, and gratitude and appreciation, not only on Remembrance Day but every day.

The existing Cenotaph was unveiled in 1958 as part of Southampton’s Centennial, and, as history and weather dictate, it is now in need of significant repair with electrical and metal fixtures a concern, along with the deterioration of brickwork.

A restoration proposed in 1984 was, unfortunately abandoned and, now, plaques bearing the names of Southampton men who went to war are also in a state of disrepair.

The Cenotaph committee that was initially formed contacted several organizations, including Monuments Canada, architects, and local groups such as Friends of the Flag, the Southampton BIA and the Southampton 150th Committee.

In addition, local historian Bill Streeter, past-Chair of the the Municipal Heritage Chair, the Legion Zone Commander, former Mayor Mike Smith, MP Ben Lobb, Rev. John Lougheed and neighbouring residents in the Cenotaph area, have also been consulted.

Since the Cenotaph location is public property belonging to the Town of Saugeen Shores, the town has assumed responsibility with the issuance of an RFP, and is accepting donations at the Town offices with tax receipts issued.

As the process progresses, public consultation is also anticipated to play a key role in the design work of the area.  Among some of the criteria being explored are a timeless, classic design that is aesthetically pleasing, integration of a natural and streetscape environment, indirect impactful lighting and a complement to Southampton’s historical architecture.

A tentative completion is planned for the Fall of 2025 which also coincides with the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Legion, founded in 1925, for those who served in the military, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, provincial or municipal police, Royal Canadian Air, Army and Sea Cadets, and direct relatives.