VIU and community partners remember local fallen soldiers through video memorial

Group photo of WW1 soldiers with text that reads Nanaimo Remembers

November 1, 2023 - 5:00pm

VIU video project acknowledges Nanaimo soldiers’ contributions to the First and Second World Wars.

A Vancouver Island University (VIU) video memorial project that tells the story of Nanaimo soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during the First and Second World Wars will be displayed across the city.

For the 11 days leading up to Remembrance Day, the Nanaimo Remembers project will display the names of more than 200 soldiers in prominent locations across the city. Stories like Private William Armstrong Syer, a miner and resident of Franklyn Street, who served in the 143rd Battalion. He was 34 when he died from wounds received in battle in August 1918 and is buried in the Crouy British Cemetery in Somme, France.

The names have been obtained from the Dallas Square Cenotaph in downtown Nanaimo and a special section highlights the contributions of local Indigenous soldiers, thanks to research conducted by VIU Elder-in-Residence Geraldine Manson.

The project, which launched in 2018, was spearheaded by VIU’s Strategic Communications and Brand and Marketing teams in collaboration with the Canadian Letters and Images Project (CLIP) and Nanaimo Community Archives. Nanaimo Remembers grew out of a desire to localize a project VIU participated in for many years – The World Remembers, a display tribute to soldiers across the world who lost their lives in the Great War.

“Nanaimo Remembers brings to life the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our freedom,” said Dr. Stephen Davies, Director of VIU’s Canadian Letters and Images Project. “The project shares details of each soldier’s life, revealing the people behind those names on the cenotaph. You get a deeper sense of what remembrance means.”

Information shared about each soldier, where available, includes their name, rank and battalion, when they died and at what age, where they were buried, their occupation and their connection to Nanaimo.

The video presentation will run continuously from November 1 to 11, 2023, on the large screen in the Welcome Centre (Building 300 at VIU’s Nanaimo campus). It will also be played on screens at several locations in the community on varying dates: 

  • City of Nanaimo: Beban Park and Oliver Woods Community Centre (November 6 to 11)
  • Port Theatre
  • Nanaimo Museum (November 1 to 10, museum is closed November 5,6 and 11)
  • Vancouver Island Regional Library: Nanaimo North branch
  • School District 68
  • Rogers tv (starting Sunday, November 5)

Check out the project at one of the participating locations above or visit VIU’s YouTube channel.


Media Contact:

Jenn McGarrigle, External Communications Manager, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.619.6860 | E: | T: @VIUNews

The VIU community acknowledges and thanks the Snuneymuxw, Quw’utsun, Tla’amin, Snaw-naw-as and Qualicum First Nation on whose traditional lands we teach, learn, research, live and share knowledge.

“The City of Nanaimo is honoured to support the VIU Nanaimo Remembers project which so poignantly acknowledges the sacrifices made by Nanaimo’s soldiers who served in World War I and II.” 

-       Leonard Krog, Mayor, City of Nanaimo


“The Nanaimo Museum is honoured to be sharing the VIU Nanaimo Remembers Project with our guests again this year. Nanaimo has a long history of service and it’s critical that the sacrifices the soldiers and their families made are commemorated now and for future generations.  We encourage guests to take some time to acknowledge their service, and to visit our partners at the Vancouver Island Military Museum to learn more about Nanaimo’s military heritage.”

-       Sophia Maher, General Manager, Nanaimo Museum


“Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools extends its deepest respect and thanks to both past and present members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Your courage and commitment to shaping a brighter future remain etched in our memories. We are eternally grateful. Thank you.”

-       Greg Keller, Board Chair, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools


“The Nanaimo North library is once again thankful that we can take part in honouring local men and women lost in conflict. It is especially poignant at this time of year to think of those who sacrificed so much.”

-       Nanaimo North branch, Vancouver Island Regional Library

Tags: Community Engagement | History | Announcements

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