A New Brunswick artist and museum have teamed up to shine a light on a lesser-known piece of history from the First World War.
With each brushstroke, Geoff Slater is recreating a moment in history.
“It's actually a scene that really happened, they have photographs of this particular place that I worked from,” says Slater.
The place is the French countryside, and the time is the First World War. The scene being painted depicts Canadian Pacific rail workers repairing infrastructure behind the lines.
Their work, Slater says, was so important to the war progressing in a positive way for the Allies.
“If you can't get troops and munitions to the front lines quicker than your enemy you're in a lot of trouble,” Slater said. “That is what they did; they kept the food and the infrastructure flowing.
It's part of a diorama in the works at the McAdam train station which will showcase the efforts of these CP workers.
“A lot of people don't realize the important role that Canadian Pacific Railway played in the First World War and the role that the workers for Canadian Pacific played in the war as well,” says Elsie Carroll of the McAdam Historical Restoration Commission.
The centerpiece of the diorama is this nearly 100-year-old bronze memorial plaque for CP Railway workers - which was originally placed at the CP office railway building in Saint John and is newly restored.
“It's been a four-year process,” said Carroll. “A lady from Halifax did the actual restoration on it. The plaque had been painted, had two coats of paint on it, and it was not easy to get off.”
A rededication ceremony is being held here on June 30. That date marks 97 years since the plaque was originally dedicated.
“CP railroad really made it easy for these specialized people to get over there,” Slater says. “They did everything that they could to help that war effort, as is acknowledged with the plaque.”
Part of the plaque reads “let those who come after, see to it that their names not be forgotten.”
It’s a reminder to keep the memory of their sacrifice and service alive.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Lyall.