Signage promotes Remembrance Day and HMCS Alberni Museum in Comox

Salsbury House B&B owner James Derry places a ‘I will Remember’ sign on his lawn. Credit Lewis Batholomew/Alberni Project

Salsbury House B&B owner James Derry places a ‘I will Remember’ sign on his lawn. Credit Lewis Batholomew/Alberni Project

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

They won’t help sell the family house or declare your support for a political candidate, but Remembrance Day lawn signs are one unique way Comox Valley residents are commemorating Nov. 11.

The signs are a fundraising initiative by the HMCS Alberni Museum and Memorial (HAMM) and boldly feature the words “I Will Remember” in English, or in French “Je Me Souviendrai”, below a field of poppies. The placards can be affixed to store-front or apartment windows, mounted to fences, or placed on lawns or in gardens, and come in two sizes, the standard 18″ x 27″, which cost $35, and the smaller store-front sign which measures 12” x 18”, which sell for $25.

Lewis Bartholomew, Founder and Executive Director of the Alberni Project and HAMM, developed the idea for the lawns signs over four years ago. He says the signs hit the right note with a newer generation of Canadians who haven’t completely abandoned the past mantra “Lest we forget” but wanted to express their feelings in a different tone.

“I wanted something that was progressive and proactive, yet still maintaining the dignity of what the poppy represents,” said Bartholomew. “So I decided that our slogan would be about commitment, a promise to remember.”

His group uses proceeds from sales of merchandise, donations, and other fund-raising initiatives to help fund the non-profit society and its museum. The museum is dedicated to the memories of the sailors who served aboard the Royal Canadian Navy’s flower-class corvette, and the preservation of Canadian military history.

Bartholomew said the idea for the sign design grew out of a 2011 idea he introduced for souvenirs such as coffee mugs, hats and shirts, which he sells in the museum gift shop. The following year, he decided to experiment with other merchandise and the idea for lawn signs was hatched.

HAMM usually sells approximately 1,000 signs per year, but this year sales have trickled to a crawl. The decline isn’t due to lack of interest, but instead because the museum was served an eviction notice in June, abruptly closing its location in the Comox Mall, before eventually finding a new home in the Courtenay Mall. But with the future of the museum recently reaffirmed, interest in the signs is beginning to pick up again as Remembrance Day approaches.

“We currently average two or three signs sold per day at the moment, but the good thing is people are finding our new location,” said Bartholomew.

For more information about HAMM, its hours, or how purchase lawns signs, visit their website: www.alberniproject.org

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