Michael Binkley was commissioned to carve Canada’s first War Memorial in nephrite jade in the Spring of 2014. Carved from a 5 tonne boulder, the Memorial, “Remembrance in Jade” now resides at Roche Point in Cates Park / Whey ah Wichen in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Remembrance Day ceremonies have been held at Roche Point for many years, yet there was never a central Memorial to gather around. North Vancouver resident, Mr. Mick Webb wished to change that and became the project champion to realize a Memorial for the site.
Working in collaboration with the Municipality of the District of North Vancouver, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, The Royal Canadian Legion and Mr. Webb, Binkley designed a simple memorial that incorporates Canada’s national symbol of the maple leaf.
As the Memorial is located on Aboriginal land, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation required the design to be simple and to appear as an alluvial boulder. They did not want a traditional cenotaph or cairn that looked man made. As nephrite jade is extremely hard and therefore excellent as an outdoor sculpture medium and since it is famous world wide as a treasured stone from the province of British Columbia, a raw boulder of the material was purchased for the project. Binkley carved the Maple Leaf in high relief and polished it to a high gleaming surface to best accentuate the wonderful multi-hued green colour of the nephrite jade. The carved area around the leaf is a smooth matte finished surface. The leaf is given animation as its surface follows the contours of the raw boulder. A large saw was used to cut a flat bottom n the boulder and again half through the boulder at its widest point. One side of the cut was pried off using hydraulic jacks, leaving the perfect surface for the Memorial epitaphs. The text, “In Honour Of Those Who Gave Their Lives For Freedom” is bright gold, while the Kohima Epitaph, “When you go home, tell them of us and say For their tomorrow, we gave our today” is left in natural colour.
The Memorial was installed in the summer of 2014 and a skirt of river rocks encircles it with a dais for wreathes to be placed on Remembrance Day, November 11.
The Memorial was dedicated on Monday, August 4, 2014, honouring the 100th anniversay of Canada entering the Great War, World War I. Dignataries from all three levels of Canadian Government were in attendance, with a marching on and off of a Full Colour Guard. The Memorial was unveiled by four Cadets.