The Kenora Great War Project
In 2012, three community organizations in Kenora, Ontario joined forces on a project which became known as The Kenora Great War Project. The three partners – the Ancestor Seekers of Kenora (ASK), the Lake of the Woods Museum and the Kenora Public Library – pooled their resources, their expertise and their knowledge to tell the story of Kenora’s involvement in World War I.
The starting point was to commemorate those men whose names were listed on the town’s war memorials. The hope was that by researching, recording and telling their stories, they would become more real to the community where they had lived. Early on in the process the scope of the project was extended to include not only those who were killed in action but all World War I veterans who lived in Kenora and the area (including Keewatin, Norman, Jaffray and Melick, Minaki, Redditt, Sioux Narrows, Lake of the Woods and the surrounding First Nations Reserves). The scope has since been extended to include all local folk who attested, were conscripted and served so that the full local story of The Great War could be told.
To that end a database of local individuals and their stories was developed (The Stories). It includes stories of heroic acts, of separated families, of friendship, of loss and we share them with you here. Please note that while over 1,400 stories are included in this database, it continues to be a work-in-progress. More stories will be added as the research is completed.
HUSBANDS, SONS AND SWEETHEARTS
The second element of the project was the production of an exhibit which was displayed at the Lake of the Woods Museum from August 1, 2014 – November 15, 2014. The exhibit highlighted some of our local stories told within the greater context of the Canadian’s part in The Great War. A virtual version of that exhibit is available on this site.
We hope that this research, the exhibit and additional resources provided here make this world event more real, more personal and more meaningful to you.