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Historical plaques returned to Oshawa

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

For Charles McGregor, it was an effort akin to a search and rescue mission.

Thanks to the acts of the local veteran and city officials, two plaques of historical significance have returned to their rightful home in Oshawa

The plaques in question were first installed at General Motors original headquarters on William Street.

When the company’s new headquarters was opened on Colonel Sam Drive, the plaques, which are inscribed with the names of GM employees who fought in the first two World Wars, were put into storage.

In the early-2000s, when he was still an employee of GM, McGregor spearheaded an effort to find the plaques a new home at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, where they stood until 2005 when the old museum itself was replaced.

Once again, the plaques were put into storage, away from the public eye for more than a decade.

Ultimately, McGregor felt it was time to bring the historical items back home.

“About a year-and-a-half ago, I got the idea of finding a place [in Oshawa] to have these reinstalled. I talked to the museum and they said if you find a place to put them up, you can have them back,? McGregor states.

Eventually, he reached out to the city and it was decided to have the plaques put on display at Oshawa city hall, where they were officially unveiled on Oct. 27 in conjunction with the launch of this year’s Poppy Campaign.

According to McGregor, the plaques needed a bit of work before being ready for public viewing.

“They’ve been refurbished, they weren’t designed to be outside and so they were unprotected [against the weather]. They suffered a bit, five Ottawa winters will do that to you,? McGregor says.

At the unveiling ceremony, Mayor John Henry commended McGregor for his dedication in seeing the plaques returned to Oshawa, presenting him with a notice of recognition from the city.

“Your efforts will allow our community to honour and remember the service and sacrifice of those who gave their ultimate measure of devotion,? Henry says of McGregor.

揟he significance of these plaques are the young men who answered the call, who lived in this community, died in lands far off and their families continued on,? the mayor continued.

Henry says the plaques will help to carry on the legacy of the brave men who fought on Canada’s behalf overseas but also serve as a reminder of the consequences and loss that comes from war.

“We need to remember those folks who didn’t come home and what they could have contributed, and how much greater this country would be,” he says.