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Postcards from the World Cup

Postcard: The Waterfront Trail's Shawn P. Roarke takes in beautiful views of Lake Ontario, Victory Peace Monument

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial

TORONTO -- The Waterfront Trail is a treasure in this city.

Running as far as the eye can see, and beyond, in each direction, it borders Lake Ontario and provides an escape from the hustle and bustle of the downtown core.

With the amount of time spent at Air Canada Centre since arriving here 10 days ago, I haven't been able to use the path as much as I would like, but have taken every opportunity to do so. It helps that it is right out the front door of my hotel.

Monday, before Team Canada and Team Europe practiced, I walked out the door of my hotel, turned left, in the direction of Etobicoke, and walked for a as long as I could, making sure to watch out for the bicyclists and runners as they whizzed by.

The walk provided me with beautiful views of Lake Ontario and the variety of boats that use it on a daily basis. It also led through several small parks and sanctuaries like the stunning Toronto Music Garden.

But, for me, the find of the day, was Coronation Park, just Past Ontario Place.

The park, a tribute to the coronation of King George VI, is hard against the lake and provides stunning views. More importantly, it houses some pretty impressive history.

I love history as much as I love hockey, so I was ecstatic to stumble upon this gem of a park, which contains a Royal Oak, planted in celebration of King George VI, a World War II memorial and the Inukshuk statue, which is a legacy project to commemorate World Youth Day in 2002. An Inuksuk is a stone structure built by Inuit tribes as a guide to travelers on land and sea.

This particular statue, made of granite, is among the largest of its kind in North America and stands 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide. It is stunning to look at it.

But, the highlight, for me was the Victory Peace Monument, which was unveiled in 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.

It is simplistic, but powerful, consisting of a flag pole and four bronze panels, shaped likes the prows of boat overlooking Lake Ontario. On the inside of each panel are telling facts about World War II and how it impacted Canada.

One panel has a map of the Atlantic Ocean and shows each Canadian ship sank by German U-boats. Another has a list of the number of Canadians who served in the war effort and how many of them were killed, wounded or captured.

The numbers, as always, are sobering.

But, they are also inspiring. Canada, like the rest of the Allies, paid a painful price in World War II. But, its soldiers fought bravely, particularly at Juno Beach during the invasion of Normandy on D-Day.

I have read much about D-Day and watched even more on the subject, but it is memorials like this, in virtually every city I travel to, that are the most powerful statements about war and its costs.

Make the time to visit Victory Peace Monument if you get a chance.

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