DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: It was recently announced that Colonel Sam Sharpe, one of the town's most notable historical figures is set to be immortalized in a new public art installation.
The announcement was made at the recent Colonel Sharpe Gala at Uxbridge Secondary School, in support of next year's trip to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
The work on the larger-than-life sized bronze statue will be undertaken by esteemed local sculptor Wynn Walters, and discussions on a downtown location for the finished product are ongoing.
Mr. Walters told The Standard that he is hopeful to have the project completed in 2017.
The project has received great support, including endorsements from former Minister of Veterans' Affairs, Durham MP Erin O'Toole; Pickering-Uxbridge MP Jennifer O'Connell; Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor; the commander of the Ontario Regiment, which is the descendent of Sharpe's 116th Battalion; retired General Julian Chapman, on the executive of Wounded Warriors Canada; eminent military historian and Uxbridge resident Ted Barris; the Western Front Association (deal with issues of the First World War); the Royal Canadian Legion; and the Uxbridge Historical Society. Donations to the project will be channeled through the Historical Society once community fundraising initiatives are launched later this year.
The legacy of Colonel Sharpe has been emboldened with a greater focus on society surrounding mental health issues. After returning from the Great War, and reeling from the horrors he witnessed, Colonel Sharpe took his own life.
"It's a very poignant story and a lot of residents may know the name, but don't know the story," commented Mr. Walters. "The pose is not a typical 'military hero', but in a reflective mood, agonizing over the horrors of war."
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