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City Hall's Peace Garden: Gathering to Remember 1945 Bombing

To commemorate the 65th anniversary of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima, the City of Toronto proclaimed Aug. 6, 2010 to be 'Hiroshima Day' and the Hiroshima Day Coalition held an event at City Hall's Peace Garden.

On the program, the Coalition had noted: "Thousands of Canadians will be joining millions around the world to remember the innocent lives that were lost in 1945 and those that continue to suffer today. We shall never forget as we remind the world that nuclear weapons must be abolished once and for all."

"The flame burning at the Peace Garden was lit from an ember of the Memorial for Peace in Hiroshima, Japan, and the water in the pool comes from the rivers of Nagasaki, so the space was very appropriate for this event," said Sister Mary Alban Bouchard, pictured far left, one of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto who attended the gathering.

The program offered music, including the Yakudo Japanese Drummers, a young violinist, Toronto's Raging Grannies, the SGI Canada Youth Chorus and a flautist.

Joe Ohori read the City of Hiroshima Proclamation and told his story as an 11-year old atomic bomb survivor Three of the speakers, Murray Thomson, Pearson Peace Medal recipient, Dr. Adele Buckley, Pugwash Canada, and the Honorable Bob Rae, MP and Liberal MP and Can. Foreign Affairs critic, spoke of the need to shift from a priority around national security to the need for global security. Rae emphasized the importance of establishing an Arctic nuclear-free zone.

Participants made paper cranes for peace, following a Japanese tradition that holds that anyone who folds 1000 paper cranes will have a desire fulfilled. They created lanterns and, as it grew darker, floated the lanterns, which held candles and their peace prayers. in the pool of the Peace Garden. Participants were led past the living flame accompanied by a flautist.

Article by Gisela Côté
Photos by Sister Mary Alban Bouchard

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