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Binkley’s Jade War Memorial in North Vancouver

Michael binkley jade war memorial

I was commissioned by the District of North Vancouver to carve “Remembrance in Jade”  this Spring 2014. This is Canada’s first War Memorial to be executed in nephrite jade, a material of gem-like quality and harder than steel.

“Remembrance in Jade” was unveiled and dedicated on Monday, August 4, 2014 at Cates Park / Whey ah Wichen in North Vancouver. This date was the 100th anniversary of the Commonwealth entering the Great War – WWI.

michael binkley jade war memorial

The Royal Canadian Legion 114 Lynn Valley Branch hosted the event which included a full Colour Guard and Pipers that marched on the site, speeches from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, our MP and other dignitaries, a lovely vocal soloist as well as the North Shore Chorus. The morning was ablaze with a cloudless sunny sky.

michael binkley jade war memorial

The location is overlooking Roche Point, a place where the Burrard Yacht Club has been honouring Canada’s Remembrance Day, November 11 with a flotilla every year since the early 1980’s. An anonymous Deep Cove resident envisioned a War Memorial be erected at Roche Point and worked diligently for three years on his dream.

In August 2013, he approached me, as his dream had evolved so the material for the Memorial was to be a 6 ton boulder of British Columbia nephrite jade. He was seeking an artist to carve the boulder into a Memorial. We collaborated on the design and I was engaged by the District of North Vancouver in April 2014 to begin carving.

As Cates Park / Whey ah Wichen is on Aborigial land, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation wished that the design incorporate as much of the natural boulder as possible. To honour Canada, I carved our national symbol of the maple leaf in high relief at the top of the boulder. A quarry saw cut left a perfect level space to engrave the epitaph in the middle of the boulder, and I left part of this as a symbol of the permanent scar that all Wars have left on history. I polished this level surface and engraved two epitaphs. The main epitaph is in gold letters and the Kohima Epitaph is in a natural finish. Both are in the two official languages of Canada, English and French.

This boulder is a beautiful example of a myriad of shades of green colours that make British Columbia jade so sought after world-wide. The carved and polished surfaces of the War Memorial accent and showcase these colours.

It has been an honour to have worked on this project and be part of Canada’s history. I hope it is enjoyed by many in the years to come.

michael binkley jade war memorial

Comments: 6

  • Alan Nixon

    August 6, 2014
    reply

    It is absolutely beautiful Michael! It is hard to believe that this beauty was hidden within the boulder. Thank you so much

  • Mick Webb

    August 10, 2014
    reply

    It took the forces of Nature 200-250 million years to forge that jade boulder. Thank you Michael for creating “Remembrance in Jade,” and unlocking it’s beautiful secrets within.

    A handsome example of your skills, that will enrich our community for untold generations to come, thank you.

  • Frank Zeidler

    August 11, 2014
    reply

    Great commision michael, well done!

  • August 12, 2014
    reply

    Well done, Michael………..!!

  • Chris & Ofelia

    August 18, 2014
    reply

    We made a special trip to Cates Park to see your Jade War Memorial. It is absolutely beautiful!

  • John

    November 12, 2014
    reply

    I saw it today. It’s beautiful – simple, different and beautiful. Well done. Its a fitting memorial

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