Monday 2 October 2017

Opening of New Alex Decoteau Park in Edmonton

Credit: Rick Beauchamp
The official opening of Alex Decoteau Park in Edmonton on September 16, 2017 was a stirring event. The 16 foot sculpture, Esprit by Pierre Poussin, captures the spirit of Alex Decoteau who has been remembered since he was shot by a sniper while running a message at the Battle of Passchendaele, on October 30, 1917.

The lore is, if this popular Olympic runner and Canada’s first Indigenous policeman saw a car going more than 15 miles an hour he would run after it and give the driver a speeding ticket. A few years later when he was a soldier at the front, Alex wrote to his sister, Emily, saying soldiers would shake his hand and ask if he remembered ticketing them.

Alex has always been remembered by his extended family, friends and admirers. His great-niece, Izola Mottershead, who saved his letters to Emily, spoke at the opening. One can’t help but wonder what Alex would think about a park in his name. In one letter to Emily he wrote, “Give my love to Grannie when you see her. Love to the children. Remember me to what few friends I’ve left. For yourself, Good wishes, love and affection, from your brother Alex.”

The park opening was a joyous occasion, attended by friends and relations who have kept the story running and Alex Decoteau’s memory will continue to lift up our hearts, just like the sculpture soaring above the crowd.
Credit: Rick Beauchamp

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