Veteran Banners

Source: Brooklin Citizen
By Parvaneh Pessian

veteranbanners brooklin

Photo source: Jason Liebregts / Metroland
Both the Whitby and Brooklin branches of the Royal Canadian Legion are involved in the Honour our Veterans Banner Program, which pays tribute to local veterans and active service members through the display of veteran tribute banners on lamp posts in town between Oct. 1 and Nov. 12 each year.

BROOKLIN -- As Remembrance Day draws near, the faces of local men and women of the past and present who served their country greet visitors of downtown Brooklin and Whitby.

The Honour our Veterans banner program is an ongoing legacy project that pays tribute to local veterans, deceased veterans and active service members through the display of banners with their photographs on lampposts every year between Oct. 1 and Nov. 12. The initiative began at a branch of the Royal Canadian Legion in New Brunswick and has since inspired many other communities, including the Brooklin and Whitby branches.

“It started last year before Remembrance Day as a discussion,” says Emma Inkpen, a Brooklin resident and owner of Inkpen Studios, who brought the idea to the local branches after seeing the banners on the streets of Uxbridge.

“I had wanted to volunteer my time somehow with the Legion, and I took this as an opportunity to volunteer my services as a graphic designer.”

The program is funded through sponsorship of individual banners at a cost of $150 each, with 81 banners sold -- 40 from Branch 152 in Brooklin and 41 from Branch 112 in Whitby.

Inkpen designed the banners and spent all summer scanning and retouching images of veterans as they flowed in from the community. She was recognized by the Town of Whitby for her contribution to the project at a special council presentation on Oct. 11.

“To be trusted with so many families’ cherished photos was not a responsibility I took lightly,” she says. “As I retouched the photos, I felt like I got to know each veteran a little bit.”

Each banner highlights a specific service person with a connection to the community and includes a photograph, name, era served -- First World War, Second World War, Korean War, or Afghanistan conflict -- branch of service, and the sponsor’s name.

“The reason they were designed that way is so that the photograph is the main part,” explains Inkpen.

“Yes, it has their name and the era of which war they were in and stuff like that underneath it, but the primary (focus) that we’re trying to draw people’s attention to is the photograph. This is a real person that lived right here that went to war -- and some of them didn’t come back.”

The project also had a personal connection for Inkpen as her husband’s grandfathers, Lorne Atkinson, and Legion past president Harry Inkpen, were both veterans. The family sponsored two banners in their honour.

With each passing year, the number of surviving Canadian veterans of the Second World War continues to decline, making it even more important to find ways to remember their sacrifices, says Inkpen.

“I think we might be slowly losing touch with how big of a deal that was. These weren’t trained (soldiers), they weren’t in the army in most cases; they volunteered and I think the generations that are coming up behind them need to be reminded of that,” she said.

“And so when you’re driving along Dundas Street or driving up Baldwin, and you see this row of photo after photo, it really reminds you.”

The banners will be stored and go back up again next year, along with any new submissions. Visit to learn more about the program.