Sunday, 8 November 2009

Highway of Heroes

A couple of years ago, I was driving from Whitby westward to Toronto on the 401. On every overpass, there were fire trucks, police cars and private vehicles stopped, adults and children standing, Canadian flags waving.

It took me a while before I realized I was just ahead of a procession from the Canadian Armed Forces Base at Trenton which was making its way along the 172km route to the Coroner's office in downtown Toronto with the body of one of our fallen soldiers. It was my first time seeing this tribute. It gave me a lump in my throat.

This observance began informally at first. It grew and eventually, as a result of a petition, the strip of highway between Trenton, ON and the Don Valley Parkway was officially deemed "Highway of Heroes". In August 2007, Ontario's provincial government consulted the federal government, municipalities along the highway and the Royal Canadian Legion about the name change. No one opposed the idea. Signs were erected to indicate this.

Canada has sustained a high percentage of casualties on their peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan - 132 to date. Too many young men and women have lost their lives on this mission.

There are Facebook pages where one can get the information about when the next repatriation ceremony and procession will be - usually a day or two after we hear the news of another fallen soldier.

This video is a very moving slide show of the whole procession from the viewpoint of a rider in one of the vehicles.

This Wednesday I will be making my usual 8 week  blood donation and either attending a Remembrance Day service at 11am at my local cenotaph or will be watching it on TV from Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

On Wednesday, November 11, I will remember.


  1. Great post, great thoughts - Bravo to you for honoring our Heroes. Very inspiring - thanks.

  2. We participated in something similar here, back in June:

    It is very important to show our respect to those who serve our countries.

  3. Well said Gerri. I had a similar experience about a year ago. I was driving down the DVP when I noticed several roadblocks set up by the Toronto Police, and several bridges bedecked with Canadian flags. Then, the procession was in my rear view mirror. Everyone else on the DVP move over and either slowed right down, or stopped on the right shoulder to let the cars pass. It was very moving and humbling.

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