Woodlands: The Burden of Gravity

The Burden of Gravity, an anthology of poems by Shannon McConnell “challenges readers to consider how we, in the aftermath of de-institutionalization, choose to remember institutions like Woodlands School”.

The Burden of Gravity

LEES+Associates in collaboration with many individuals who gave generously of their time and ideas, designed a memorial garden to serve as a beautiful gathering place honouring former Woodlands residents.

The Woodlands Memorial Garden project involved the recovery of some 3,000 previously removed headstones marking the graves of former residents of the Woodlands School. This work has extended over several years from guiding the concept development process, design development to construction of the Woodlands Memorial Gardens.

Work on this project remains ongoing as more headstones are discovered offsite.


The Burden of Gravity – Shannon McConnell

Review: Shannon McConnell challenges her readers to witness the burdens of memory, abuse and erasure – from the Vancouver Sun

Woodlands Memorial Garden – Project Page


Woodlands memorial garden
Woodlands Memorial Garden, New Westminster, BC


A Walk to Remember

a walk to remember

We just wanted to share a recent photo of this unique memorial created to honour Canadian soldiers.

Spearheaded by two Langley, BC youth, Michael and Elizabeth Pratt and their organization Langley Youth for the Fallen, A Walk to Remember at the Derek Doubleday Arboretum commemorates Canadian Forces personnel who lost their lives while serving in the Canadian mission in Afghanistan, 2002 – 2011.

A total of 158 trees were planted at the Arboretum in honour of the 158 Canadians who lost their lives through the nine years of the Afghan mission.

A Walk to Remember’s central commemorative feature (pictured) is symbolic of a tree whose life has been cut short. Wrapped around the trunk, a steel ribbon ascends towards the sky, carrying the names of the fallen Canadians.

Last Post Fund Monument at Mountain View Cemetery

Last Post Fund Monument

Last Post Fund Monument

In spite of last week’s cold and rain, crews at Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery installed a long-awaited new monument in the Abray South Veterans Section.

Designed as a two piece gateway feature for a future pedestrian precinct, the new monument includes interpretive signage in both official languages. They tell the story of the Last Post Fund, and recognize the role of this organization in ensuring that all Canadian veterans receive a proper and dignified burial.

LEES+Associates worked with Mountain View and the LPF on this project. The monument features Dibond panels installed on custom precast concrete elements, pinned into locally quarried and fabricated granite bases.

Last Post Fund Monument

Last Post Fund Monument

Last Post Fund Monument

Last Post Fund Monument

Photographs courtesy of Wayne Worden.

Komagata Maru Memorial in the Fall

Komagata Maru Memorial in the Fall

We took a stroll recently to admire the changing autumn foliage at the Komagata Maru Memorial. This project involved a monument design to commemorate a 1914 incident that witnessed 376 passengers from India escorted out of Vancouver’s Coal Harbour aboard the steamship Komagata Maru.

Steel panels, set within the surrounding landscape, simulate the ship’s hull with small openings to reflect the cascading waves of Vancouver’s harbour. A centrally located glass panel provides a historical narrative of the incident for visitors, and presents a poignant historic image from a tragic day in Canadian immigration history.