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Push to preserve Canada's largest military cemetery in Montreal amid financial troubles


On the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landing, there is a push to preserve the largest military cemetery in Canada.

Pointe-Claire’s National Field of Honour is the final resting place for 22,500 soldiers and their families. It’s administered by the Last Post Fund and since 2007 is listed as a National Historical Site.

The Fund confirmed to CTV News that in 2023 it ran a deficit of $200,000 and estimates with its current financial situation it can only continue to run the cemetery for the next five years.

Peter MacArthur is a former Canadian ambassador and the son of a veteran buried there. He’s helping to spearhead the push for Veterans Affairs Canada to take over the site.

"There's no consistency, there's no sustainability," he said in an interview. "So, what is the future of this national historic site when neither department — Veterans Affairs or Canadian Heritage — are providing the consistent, sustained funding that they can count on?"

The office of the Veterans Affairs Minister told CTV News a heritage review and environmental assessment of the site was conducted between 2021 and 2023. It is now looking at possible options to preserve the cemetery.

"We are aware of the situation with the National Field of Honour," said Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor. "We look forward to working with the Last Post Fund on a path forward."

Veterans Affairs has spent money on cemetery upkeep, but MacArthur describes it as an ad hoc effort. He says despite the Fund’s best efforts, upkeep is a struggle.

"With the freeze and thaw these flat tombstones go up and down and become unstable. The grass around the stones often obscures them," he said.

Petition calls on feds to step in

On May 16, a petition was presented at the House of Commons stated: "We call upon the Government of Canada to consider making a full public commitment in 2024 to assume oversight, management and funding of the Field of Honour in view of the cemetery’s unique national significance."

Another former ambassador and son of a veteran, Robert Peck, said it should be handled before next year, as 2025 marks 80 years since the end of the Second World War.

"I think this initiative speaks to memory, to doing the right thing by our veterans who stood up for Canada at a very dark moment in Canadian history," Peck said. Top Stories

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