Peace Day 2009 - Calgary Peace Pole Unveiled
At least 200 Calgarians came out to celebrate with the Calgary Community Peace Pole Committee on the unveiling of the peace pole the afternoon of Sunday September 20, 2009. The celebration, which occurred close to the peace pole site (along the Bow River pathway near the south side, where the C-train bridge crosses the river) began with a Peace Walk from Prince’s Island. Walkers carried peace, UN and national flags and sang familiar peace songs as they walked to the peace pole site.
The unveiling celebration event was MC’d by Kelly Dowdell, Program Manager for the Consortium of Peace Studies at the University of Calgary, and began with a First Nations blessing by Cree elder Doreen Spence. The Honourable Kent Hehr (MLA for the riding where the peace pole is in) brought greetings from the province. Chris Eddy (SGI Canada) and Michael Embaie (African Community Association) shared information about Calgary’s commitment to peace through the years and the efforts of the Peace Pole Committee. After Marc Boutin spoke of the meaning behind the design of the peace pole, Diane Janzen (Project Ploughshares Calgary) presented gifts of thanks to Marc, and Ron Choe from Marc Boutin
Architectural Collaborative for the generous donation of their time towards the project, and also thanked the ten other construction companies and The City of Calgary who were involved and provided in-kind donations to the project.
Eaglespeaker Singers, a First Nations group sang and drummed the audience over to the peace pole site using a traditional travelling song used to greet people returning from a hunt or important visit. Once all were gathered at the peace pole, Eaglespeaker Singers began the ceremony with an honour song. Alexander McLaren (10) read the charter that is inscribed on part of the peace pole monument, and was joined by Doreen Spence and Liza Lorenzetti to say “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in English, Cree, Blackfoot and French as inscribed on the peace pole. Joe Ceci, Alderman and Deputy Mayor for the event, with the help of Alexander, cut the ribbon to unveil the peace pole monument.
The spirit of peaceful celebration at the event was aided by the efforts of many local performers and those working for peace: Taoist Tai Chi Society, Yvonne Schmitz, Keiko Hatch, DJ Geosphere, Anthony Burbidge, Shaista & Kayzra from Sitare Productions, Rhythm of the Rockies Choir, The Acholi Dance Group, SGI Canada Youth Lion’s Roar Band, Shanti Amani Salaama the Peace Fairy, Puppets for Peace, Pinwheels for Peace made by students from Banting & Best School / Sherwood School and Peace Cranes made by Sunday School students from Renfrew United Church.
Thanks to all who came out to celebrate, all who have supported the project on it’s journey, and all who volunteered their time on the Peace Pole Committee and for the unveiling celebration. The Peace Pole Committee presents this monument for peace to all citizens of Calgary and encourages you to visit the site by yourself or with a group and think about how you can ‘engage’ in building peace in our city and our world. May Peace Prevail on Earth!.