100th anniversary of Shelbourne Memorial Trees honoured

October 1, 2021

News release

For immediate release 

100th anniversary of Shelbourne Memorial Trees honoured

Saanich, BC – The District of Saanich, the City of Victoria and the Memorial Avenue Committee will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the planting of the London Memorial Planetrees on Shelbourne Street this weekend by unveiling images of the new gateway signs and planting a commemorative tree.

Memorial trees were planted on both sides of Shelbourne Street in Saanich and Victoria to honour the fallen soldiers and nurses from BC in the First World and Boer Wars. Memorial Avenue was formally dedicated on the afternoon of October 2, 1921. In September 2018, the Memorial Avenue Committee organized a rededication ceremony and commemoration of the 1918 Armistice.

Since 2018, the Memorial Avenue Committee has worked with both municipalities to install specially designed road signs prominently placed along Shelbourne to commemorate Memorial Avenue, and more recently, work has begun on the installation of gateway signs both in in Victoria (at Shelbourne and Albert Street) and in Saanich (at Shelbourne and Cedar Hill Road). In Saanich, eight historical themed interpretive panels have also been installed.

To highlight the history of the trees in Saanich, a film has been produced by Dr. Geoffrey Bird, Professor of the War Heritage Research Initiative at Royal Roads University. Entitled Trees of Remembrance: Shelbourne Memorial Avenue, Saanich, CHEK TV will air the film October 2 at 6:30 p.m.


“On behalf of Saanich Council, I wish to extend my appreciation and thanks to the late Mr. Ray Travers for his visionary leadership and perseverance on moving the Memorial Avenue Committee’s action plan forward to preserve and enhance these memorial trees,” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes.

“The distinct canopy of Shelbourne Street’s London planetrees serve as a daily reminder of our dedication to remembering those that were - and are - affected by war,” said Councillor Marianne Alto. “We are honoured to mark this 100th anniversary by planting another tree to reaffirm this legacy of remembrance and ensure our continued reflection and appreciation of such sacrifices.”

“Associated with the sycamore, the London planetree symbolizes strength, protection, eternity and divinity,” said Memorial Avenue Committee member Paul de Greef. “Maintaining the uniqueness of the London planetrees signify a commitment to remember, a tangible link between today’s community members and thousands of families in the Greater Victoria area affected by wars over the past 100 years.”

Watch the ceremony live

Join Saanich, Victoria and the Memorial Avenue Committee virtually for a brief ceremony at 1 p.m. October 2 at Facebook.com/Saanich.BC with Mayor Fred Haynes, Victoria Councillor Marianne Alto, and Dr. Geoffrey Bird. Following the event, a recording will be available on Saanich’s YouTube channel.


Media contacts:

Paul de Greef
Memorial Avenue Committee


Dr. Geoffrey Bird
Memorial Avenue Committee


City of Victoria
Sheldon Johnson
Manager of Engagement


District of Saanich
Gary Darrah
Manager of Park Planning and Development