UXBRIDGE: With the 150th anniversary of the Uxbridge Fire Department approaching, the members are embarking on a fall fundraising campaign to honour their fallen members with a new memorial garden and sculpture. With the move to the new fire hall, Uxbridge’s Firefighters realized they now had the appropriate space and location todo something meaningful not only for the department but also for the town. As the Department approaches the significant milestone of 150 years of serving the community in 2024, they felt the timing was ideal. After 18 months of careful, thoughtful planning, members of the Uxbridge Firefighter’s Association (UFA) made a presentation to the council and got their approval in August. As well, they’ve contracted the services of a local landscape architect to design the overall site and garden and Tyler Briley, a Scugog resident and retired firefighter, to create a unique statue that will be the centrepiece of the memorial garden featuring a life-size memorial of a firefighter looking down on the gear of a fallen friend. The memorial will honour those that have died in the line of duty and those that passed away while in active service. “One of the important pieces of the project as a whole is that it’s not simply a statue. Our vision is to create a park-like garden setting” Jeff Keeping, an Uxbridge firefighter and member of the UFA explained to councillors. “This is a key gateway into town from the west, and we want to increase the integration of the fire hall into our community and give people an area of rest and reflection.” Now the work of fundraising gets underway. At the Uxbridge Fall Fair the public is encouraged to stop by the Fire Department display to not only learn about fire safety and ask questions, but also to see the model of the statue, pick up a brochure showing the vision of the memorial garden, and hopefully make a donation. The projected cost of the project is $240,000 with the life-size bronze statue on a granite base being the focal point. The overall vision of the project is to create a park-like garden setting with trees and other plant material, sidewalks and benches, lighting, and detailed stamped concrete. The firefighters have partnered with the Uxbridge Scott Historical Society to make this worthwhile project a reality.
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