The Crossings - Children's Memorial Gazebo and Boardwalk
Memories of the most tragic fire in the City of Kitchener’s recent history, were the driving force behind the construction of a lasting memorial at the City’s Williamsburg Cemetery.
Known as "The Crossings' Children's Memorial Gazebo and Boardwalk", or "The Crossings" for short, the memorial consists of a wooden boardwalk and small pavilion on the edge of the natural wetlands within the cemetery. Located on Fischer-Hallman Road, Williamsburg Cemetery is well-known for its attractive, natural setting, and its innovative ways of celebrating, remembering and memorializing the lives of loved ones.
''When we heard that the Kitchener Professional Fire Fighters Association (KPFFA) was looking for a way to memorialize children who have died tragically, we felt Williamsburg would be the perfect location with it’s serene environment”, said Lorelei Eckel-Braun, the City’s cemeteries manager. “The KPFFA were wonderful partners to work with and instrumental in making this project a reality.''
While the boardwalk is a memorial to children, it also serves as an educational environment where people can learn about the natural flora and fauna of the wetland.
In June of 1995, Kitchener was left reeling in the aftermath of a residential house fire that claimed the lives of four young children. In the months after the tragedy, fire officials announced that, in an effort to prevent such a tragedy from occurring again, a new, direct-to-fire alarm monitoring program would be implemented in the city. Six years after it was first piloted in Kitchener, Direct Detect is so successful that other Canadian cities are using it as a model for their own residential monitoring systems. On June 22, 2006 the opening ceremonies for The Crossings were held and shared with numerous citizens of the community.