Tough job cleaning up Halifax war memorial, but it's getting done
Published Wednesday, October 10, 2018 9:40PM ADT
Weekend vandalism of the war memorial in Halifax's Point Pleasant Park is proving both time-consuming and expensive to clean up – but people are still working on it.
The chemicals and paint used suggest the vandals wanted it to be difficult to restore the monument – even though a private graffiti company that specializes in this is on the job.
The Halifax Memorial was defaced with several types of paint, and possibly an oil-based rust-inhibitor. The clean-up requires specialized chemicals, a lot of time -- and plenty of elbow grease.
“It's a combination of the paint and the surface-type: it being granite, it's extremely porous,” said Kim Webber of Goodbye Graffiti. “We're having a very difficult time with that combination to get the graffiti off the monument.”
Robert Shaw, a veteran’s son, was disgusted by the act of vandalism.
“This is hallowed ground,” he said. “I was revolted.”
Shaw has been keeping tabs on the clean-up since it started.
He’s the son of a proud veteran who died two years ago. Tuesday would have been his dad's 95th birthday.
They spent many Remembrance Days at the Halifax Memorial.
“It was a very emotional experience for him to look upon the cenotaph and to also look out to the mouth of the harbour where so many men sailed to their peril,” Shaw said.
Indeed, the memorial commemorates more than 3,200 Canadian and Newfoundland soldiers and sailors who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars.
Beyond the shock value, no one's sure why vandals would target the site and other locations in the popular park, but taxpayers are on the hook for a fair amount of money.
“This one event cost the municipality an estimated $8,000,” said Halifax Regional Municipality spokesman Nick Ritcey. “We do have a standing offer with a graffiti company who removes graffiti from the streets - so benches and signs and things like that – but they don't actually come into parks and look after municipal assets like buildings.”
Veterans Affairs says the Halifax Memorial is not their property, but did offer the city whatever help might be required.
All of it is more than a little disappointing for Shaw, who can't help but think what his father might've said.
“Forty years ago, he would have been angry and bitter, but he died a man of faith,” Shaw said. “And I think he would have found forgiveness in his heart.”
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.