Understanding the historical significance of the Hespeler bandshell and our fallen soldiers

Hespeler bandstand
Hespeler plaques rededication ceremony, June 24th, 1967, Forbes Park Bandshell 

 A recent article in the Cambridge Times on April 22nd, 2023 titled, What's going on here, stated that the Cambridge’s Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee (MHAC) narrowly voted 4-3 to approve staff's recommendation.

The Ontario Heritage Act, properties are designated as whole parcels, at the MHAC meeting, city staff recommended that all of Forbes Park, be designated. So what were the heritage features proposed to be protected by the heritage designation of the property? They included the wooden bandstand, and the concrete bridge. Here is LINK to full  Planning/Heritage City heritage report.

It will now be presented to the City of Cambridge council for heritage designation at an upcoming council meeting. 

To educate people on the historical significance of the bandshell and the memorial to our fallen soldiers, here is some information. The numbers of soldiers that died from Hespeler are:

  • WWI - 65
  • WWII - 21
  • Korean War - 4
  • Peacekeeping Egypt - 1  

hespeler old bandshell
Hespeler old bandshell

On September 28, 1924 at 3:30pm, memorial tablets were unveiled and dedicated to the soldiers who had given their lives in WWI from Hespeler. The bandshell and tablets were dedicated by the Hespeler’s Women’s Institute with representatives of the Town Council and Veterans Association. Originally placed in the old bandshell.  

Enjoy this photo of the bandstand in use in 1935 with the Hespeler Kindergarten Rhythm Band. Photo courtesy of Sam Inglis.

1935 Hespeler Bandshell Forbes Park

On June 24, 1967, Hespeler Women’s Institute president Mrs. Vera Prudy and Hespeler Legion Branch 272 President Gordon Goebel rededicated these plaques in a special ceremony at the park bandshell. The plaques were put on a stone cairn beside the bandshell. The plaques are now attached to the bandshell itself.

To suggest the bandshell has no historical significance in Hespeler shows a clear lack of respect for our fallen soldiers.

plaques hespeler

Hespeler bandshell


  1. The actual vote by MHAC was on the designation of the park as a whole. All seemed in favour of protecting the bridge and bandstand but felt as a city owned asset, the park itself didn't need a heritage designation.


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