The City of New Westminster believes an iconic photograph from the Second World War could put the Royal City on the national stage.
The city has been working on plans to commemorate the well-known, Wait for Me, Daddy photograph in a memorial or public art installation in downtown New Westminster. The photo-graph, taken by Province newspaper photographer Claud Detloff on Oct. 1, 1940, shows a boy breaking away from his mother and rushing to his father, who is marching with soldiers down Eighth Street.
Last year, the city issued a call for proposals for three life-size bronze statues that would depict the boy, the father and the mother shown in the photograph. The statues would be located on the actual site where the photograph was taken, which is now Hyack Square.
Coun. Lorrie Williams, a member of the Wait for Me, Daddy task force, said the city expects to select the artist who will do the sculpture within a couple of weeks. The city has high hopes for the memorial.
"We are trying to have it declared a national heritage site," she said. "That would be in 2015."
Although the city hopes to unveil the sculptures in 2014, it is proposing to commemorate the Wait for Me, Daddy photograph in 2015 by reenacting the soldiers' march down Eighth Street.
"The mint and the post office are interested in doing a stamp and a coin, but only if we do it in 2015," Williams said. There is not much in the way of historical military stuff in Western Canada. They very much want to do something here."
Williams said the British Columbia Regiment and other military regiments are keen on the idea of reenacting the march down Eighth Street.
While attending Federation of Canadian Municipalities' meetings in Ottawa, Williams set up meetings with officials from the Department of National Defence, Canada Post and the Royal Canadian Mint. She is "very optimistic" about plans to commemorate Wait for Me, Daddy as part of celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
"We will be unveiling in 2014," she said. "The march will probably take place in 2015. That's to celebrate the end of World War Two and our photo, which is part of World War Two."
The Second World War ended in the spring of 1945. "It's getting bigger and better all the time," Mayor Wayne Wright said about the Wait for Me, Daddy project. "It is probably going to put us on the map nationally."
The Wait for Me, Daddy task force will soon meet to narrow submissions down from 15 to about three and will then forward a recommendation on the project to city council.
"Out of this world," Williams said, when asked to describe the submissions. "People are very excited about it."