The legacy of thousands of men, from labourers to farmers to schoolboys, lives on at Battalion Park, Signal Hill, through the enormous numbers that are part of the hillside. Over 16,000 white washed stones make up the numbers 113, 51, 137 and 151, where Sarcee Camp, the largest Canadian military training camp at the time, was located. Between the years 1914 and 1916, members of the 137th, 113th, 151st and 51st battalion lugged sacs full of river rock for two kilometers from the Elbow River to the hill. They then arranged these stones into numbers measuring up to 36.5 meters (120 feet) long, imprinting their identities into the earth.
Tragically, very few of the men who placed these stones returned to Canada after the war. But those who did continued to meet at the site of Sarcee Camp to upkeep this unofficial monument, repainting the rocks they had carried from the river and weeding the area into the 1960s. Eventually, the area became over grown, and the stones were soon concealed by grass and bushes. Years passed before a local historian found them, while grading the land for development.
A long fight ensued to have this geoglyph gain status as a historical monument, headed by cadets of the 157th Battalion in Calgary. Finally, 93 hectares were allocated to become Battalion Park, and the stones were restored. The numbers 137, 151 and 51 are clustered near each other, as they had to be shifted to another location due to local development. The 113 arrangement is situated on its own, in its original state, covering 0.65 acres. On November 3rd, 1991, Battalion Park officially opened, with a 104 cadet ceremony to honour those who fought in the war.
If you’re interested in visiting this once-forgotten, breathtaking monument, the park includes pathways and a lookout point, as well as a memorial plaque. The park can be located at 3001 Signal Hill Dr. S.W, west of Sarcee Trail.
Krista Kehoe, Calgary real estate agent & REALTOR®