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Halifax’s disgrace 

Voice of the City


At first glance, there’s something particularly shameful about the way that Halifax Central Library has dropped “Memorial” from its name and is giving away certain objects from the physical Memorial exhibit, such as the Silver Cross. The significance of this Memorial was to honour our World War Two veterans. Remembering becomes more important over time, not less important, as our veterans pass away, and as the living connections to that War leave our lives. That is why maintaining the name, the centrality and the significance of the Memorial is even more important now, in 2014, than it was in 1951, when the Memorial Library opened.

Given the attention that was paid to the artifacts found at the site of the new Central Library, it’s more than shameful that WWII items from inside the old Memorial Library are being given away, that the name is being abandoned, and that the significance is set to be forgotten. It’s a disgrace.

I am reminded of Louis W. Collins, who, in his well-known guide to the city, In Halifax Town, published in 1975, foresaw this issue, when he noted that “It should be stressed that the original name and intent of this Library, The Halifax Memorial Library, should not be laid aside and forgotten as the Library continues to expand in the community.” Imagine disassembling the cenotaph at Grand Parade and giving the bricks away to whoever would take them. That’s what’s happening right now, at the corner of Brunswick Street and Spring Garden Road.

The new Central Library is beautiful, and I have no problem with what it cost to build it or what it looks like. But the name should have stayed the same, and the Memorial exhibit objects should never have been given away. Concerned Halifax residents should contact their councillor, MLA and MP, since the “Halifax Central Library” was built and named using municipal, provincial and federal money.

The renaming of the Memorial Library is a disgrace, but it doesn’t have to be in our name.

***Michael Goodfellow is a North End resident.***

click to enlarge VERONICA HORSMAN
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