By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
The names of 12 local veterans will be forever immortalized throughout the streets of Oshawa.
The city recently held a recognition event for a dozen men who defended Canada in various wars and have inspired street names in several new subdivisions, generally bounded by Conlin Road East, Ritson Road North, Coldstream Drive, and Grandview Street North.
Trooper Don White was one of the few veterans present to accept the recognition in person.
White, who served in Holland and Italy as part of the 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment, continues today as a very active volunteer with the Ontario Regiment Museum in Oshawa.
The Second World War veteran told The Oshawa Express he was “very humbled” to have his name chosen for a street sign.
“Not only do I feel humbled, but I feel very honoured,” he says.
White says he is hopeful future generations will continue to recognize the efforts of the men and women who fought for Canada as he did.
“I think it’s important because we did it for a cause, and all I hope is the younger generations will carry that cause on, keeping our country the way it is and should be in the future, and not let it dilute down and become something different,” he commented.
“We can’t keep Don down; he is forever a volunteer to make sure we remember [the efforts of veterans],” said Councillor Bob Chapman.
Chapman stated that much of the credit for the street names goes to the various developers of the subdivisions.
“A lot of people think the city [makes the decision] but it’s the developers that pick the name,” Chapman said. “These developers are helping us out to honour our veterans and our war dead. We very much appreciate them participating in it.”
Chapman shared information about the veterans’ lives, the roles they served in military duty and acknowledged family members who attended the ceremony.
The eleven other veterans who were recognized during the ceremony were:
– Frederick Mason
– Harold Nugent
– Irvine Scott
Chapman says the nomination of veterans, both living and deceased, for street names, is done independently by city staff and representatives from local veterans organizations.
“There is no political influence in it. There is not one of the councillors or the mayor involved in the process, other than when they are presented to committee and council, it’s a rubber stamp just to say if the [nomination] committee is okay with these names going on the list, then we’re happy with it too.”
Once the nomination list is complete, developers then make their selections.
This tradition was first introduced in 2003, when Oshawa city council adopted a Street Naming Policy to honour the memory of men and women from Oshawa who served in war or peacekeeping assignments, as part of Canada’s military, by the naming of new streets.