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Hopes For Peace Sprout In Garden

Updated: Apr 24, 2021

By Carmela Fragomeni

Staff Reporter

Hamilton Spectator

Mon., Oct. 24, 2011

Article was updated Feb. 28, 2020

Hamilton is the peace centre of Canada, say local social justice activists.

And they now have a "peace pole" beside City Hall to show it. The four-sided post with the word "peace" printed on each side sits in a new peace garden at the corner of Bay and Hunter streets.

The garden - consisting, for now, of the post and four benches surrounding it - "is really a tribute to David Adams (a former UN official) who said Hamilton really is the centre for peace in Canada," said Gail Rappolt, who is with the local Culture of Peace group.

"That's well known outside of Canada," she said at a brief garden park dedication Monday. "Now, hopefully, it will be well known in the city, too."

Hamilton already has a number of peace initiatives going for it, Rappolt points out. These include the Gandhi peace festival, a peace studies department at McMaster University, and local branches of Amnesty International, the United Nations Association and Project Ploughshares.

Although the peace garden now has just the benches and pole on a grassy knoll, it will become an iconic symbol for peace in the city, Councillor Brian McHattie said at the event. "Symbols are important," McHattie said.

Peace poles have been erected in 180 countries around the world.

The event, attended by about a dozen people, coincided with United Nations Day, which marks the anniversary of the UN Charter that came into force in 1945, and a local celebration that evening of the Decade of Peace held at the First Unitarian Church on Dundurn Street South.

Among the items discussed were the six principles of a culture of peace adopted by the UN: respect all life; reject violence; share with others; listen to understand; preserve the planet and rediscover solidarity.

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