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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Jules Mager Park / Arden Seven Commemorative Plaza (River Road, Winnipeg)

Located in Winnipeg at the northeast corner of River Road at St. Michael Road in St. Vital, the park is named in honour of market gardener and municipal official Jules Henry Mager. It was officially dedicated in September 1972.

Plans for a $75,000 commemorative plaza were unveiled in August 2013. It was officially unveiled on 12 July 2014 in tribute to the “Arden Seven,” a group of seven volunteer Canadian servicemen who all resided on nearby Arden Avenue and served together within the Winnipeg Grenadiers at the Battle of Hong Kong. The Canadian force of 1,975 personnel, known as C-Force, was comprised of the Royal Rifles of Canada (from Quebec) and of the Winnipeg Grenadiers. C-Force, including John Robert Osborn, arrived at Hong Kong on 16 November 1941 and helped to reinforce the existing garrison. Combat was joined on 8 December and, despite being outnumbered four to one, the Allied troops held out against the Japanese assault force of over 60,000 soldiers for over two weeks, suffering heavy losses. The garrison surrendered on Christmas Day 1941. All members of the Arden Seven survived the battle and were taken prisoners of war, held at camps in Hong Kong, China, and Japan.

Members of the “Arden Seven” were:

  • Frederick Percival “Fred Abrahams” Harding (c1922 - 2 January 1998)
  • William James “Bill” Lancaster (19 June 1921 - 2 July 1970)
  • George Nelson Peterson (8 February 1921 - 5 September 2021)
  • Morris Andrews Peterson (8 February 1921 - 9 June 1986)
  • William Alfred Shayler (15 October 1913 - 12 January 1989)
  • Harry Albert Shayler (15 July 1919 - 17 November 1944)
  • William Edward “Ed” Shayler (25 July 1918 - 9 October 2011)

The plaza was unveiled by George Peterson, the last surviving member of the group, to a crowd of dignitaries including Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz as well as friends and family of the soldiers. The plaza features seven chairs, one for each serviceman. The project was spearheaded by MLA Christine Melnyk and assisted by Winnipeg councillor Brian Mayes (St. Vital), and President of the St. Vital Historical Society Bob Holliday.

Jules Mager Park / Arden Seven Commemorative Plaza

Jules Mager Park / Arden Seven Commemorative Plaza (August 2014)
Source: Nathan Kramer

Commemorative plaque and chairs for the Arden Seven

Commemorative plaque and chairs for the Arden Seven (June 2017)
Source: Nathan Kramer

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.82581, W97.13743
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Memorable Manitobans: Jules Henry Mager (1884-1955)


Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Nominal Roll of Canadians at Hong Kong is released,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 December 1941, page 10.

“139 more men listed as free,” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 September 1945, page 7.

Service Files of the Second World War - War Dead, 1939-1947, Library and Archives of Canada.

City of Winnipeg Council Minutes - 1972, by Jim Smith / MMC Alumni

Obituary [Morris Andrews Peterson], Winnipeg Free Press, 10 June 1986, page 42.

Obituary [Frederick Percival Harding], Winnipeg Free Press, 4 January 1998, page B10.

“Seven marched to war from little Arden Street,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 December 2005, page A1.

“The Arden Seven,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 December 2005, page A5.

Obituary [William Edward Shayler], Winnipeg Free Press, 14 October 2011, page B9.

Arden Seven get ’St. Vital’s Valour Road’ for Battle of Hong Kong bravery,” Winnipeg Sun, 16 August 2013.

“Hong Kong vets saluted,” Winnipeg Free Press, 17 August 2013, page A14.

Plaza honours seven Battle of Hong Kong veterans from Arden Avenue,” Winnipeg Free Press, 12 July 2014.

Plaza honours Hong Kong veterans,” Winnipeg Free Press, 13 July 2014.

Obituary [George N. Peterson], Winnipeg Free Press, 11 September 2021.

C Force Reports and Stats, Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 16 October 2021

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