Air India memorial unveiled in Vancouver
Vancouver, July 27, 2007 – The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia, Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan and Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation Chair Ian Robertson participated in the unveiling of the Air India memorial in Vancouver. They were joined by Jayashree Thampi of the Air India Flight 182 Victims' Families, and the friends and families of victims, to dedicate a memorial in Stanley Park to the memory of those lost 22 years ago on the flight and in a related explosion at Japan's Narita Airport.
"This memorial acknowledges the bombing of Air India Flight 182 as one of Canada's worst tragedies," said Jayashree Thampi. "The memorial wall, etched with the names of the victims, immortalizes the lives lost in this act of terrorism. The children's playground symbolizes the innocence of those children who died in this tragedy. This place offers a beacon of hope to the children of today and the future," Ms. Thampi added.
Ceperley playground in Stanley Park was redeveloped in memory of the 331 victims, 82 of them children, who perished in the 1985 bombings. Along with improvements to the play area, the park includes a quiet space for contemplation that will serve as a site for the remembrance of the victims.
"This memorial commemorates the lives of those lost 22 years ago in the worst terrorist incident in Canadian history. We hope it provides a peaceful place for contemplation as well as a reminder of the very real consequences of terrorism," said Minister Day. "The Government of Canada remains unwavering in its commitment to protect Canadians from terrorism."
"The tragic loss of 331 lives was felt around the world, but it was of particular significance here in British Columbia where many victims were family members, friends and neighbours," said Premier Campbell. "While this memorial will be a place of reflection and commemoration, the playground will be a place for children to play together and know one another in the hope that they will never see an atrocity like the Air India bombing."
Supported by the families of the victims, the cost of the project is shared by the governments of Canada and British Columbia, and is built on land provided by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. The planning process involved consultations with the general public and victims' families.
"On behalf of the City of Vancouver, I would like to extend my most sincere sympathies for all of those who lost close friends and family on Air India Flight 182 and at Tokyo's Narita Airport," said Mayor Sullivan. "The Vancouver Air India Memorial in Stanley Park will be a place to remember the innocence we lost that horrible day. It will be a place for children to be children. And it will be a place for parents and families to reflect on the precious things in life."
Park Board Chair Robertson acknowledged the designers and builders of the memorial wall and the much appreciated redevelopment of Ceperley Playground. "The considerable thought and expertise that went into the making of this memorial project have resulted in a special atmosphere, replete with places for reflection and joy."
The unveiling of the memorial and commemorative playground in Vancouver follows a previous ceremony of a memorial for the victims of Air India bombings in Toronto on June 23, 2007. There will also be a memorial built in Montreal and a renovation of the existing memorial in Ottawa.
Public Safety Canada
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Stockwell Day
Minister of Public Safety
Office of the Premier
Acting Director of Communications
City of Vancouver
Manager of Communications
Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation