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City of Barrie planning to mark major milestones for Canadian Armed Forces


As the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) prepare to mark multiple major milestones this year, Barrie's mayor says the City will be there every step of the way.

On Wednesday, Mayor Alex Nuttall announced multiple upcoming events to pay tribute to the CAF over the coming 13 months. Nuttall says the City has a strong bond with the CAF, given its close proximity to CFB Borden.

"The relationship is incredibly strong and one that we're able to work together and work off of each other on a day by day basis," Nuttall said during an address to the media at City Hall. "Over the next year or 13 months we are going to do everything we can to say thank you."

This year the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), which has been at Borden since its infancy, is marking its 100th anniversary this year. On June 6 the country will also mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

"If you think about those who served in World War II, and if they had to sign up at the age of 18 years of age… and this is the 80th anniversary, that would put a minimum age of 98 years of age. And I think this is a unique opportunity for the City to work with our colleagues at Base Borden and all members of the community to ensure that we provide that the correct recognition, gratitude and respect that it deserves."

In June the City will once again host the popular Air Show downtown in partnership with Base Borden.

"There's going to be the Air Show…which is an incredibly beautiful event for our downtown but one that also allows the story to be told of our Air Force as well as our armed forces," Nuttall said.

The event will start with the Freedom of the City March, the first time that event has been held since 2016.

"I think we're overdue," said Honorary Colonel Jennifer Armstrong, who is based at Borden. "So that's going to be a fantastic opportunity for some of our soldiers, sailors and aviators to come in and participate in that historic request to enter the city."

The Air Show is scheduled to be held the weekend of June 15, with the march happening on the first day.

Currently on display outside Barrie City Hall, multiple banners will be on display along Lakeshore Drive, shining a spotlight on local soldiers who served in the War.

Earlier this year councillors gave approval to several updates to the City's Military Heritage Park in honour of the RCAF's centennial anniversary.

The first project will see an RCAF roundel represented by annual flowers. According to staff, this will be blue and red flowers separated by a white decorative landscape rock, displaying the colours of the RCAF.

"We have the unveiling of the roundel project with the RCAF, which will essentially allow those who are serving in the air force when flying over the City of Barrie by the Military Heritage Park to see the actual logos from the sky of the RCAF," Nuttall said.

The other part is for a roundel symbolically created in paver stones. It is expected to be about 10 diameters and feature a central paverstone maple leaf with bayberry shrubs.

The projects are scheduled to be completed by June. An exact unveiling date has yet to be confirmed.

The celebrations will continue through the rest of the year, with more details on how the City plans to mark the 80th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day), on May 8, 2025, expected to be released at a later date.

"We're also pretty proud of the community engagement that we have with the City of Barrie and we're really, really looking forward to the full year's events that will be added in to the calendar," said Honorary Colonel Wayne Hay.

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