11/11/2015 05:58 EST | Updated 11/11/2015 06:59 EST

Calgary Applies For Battalion Park To Be Designated As A National Historic Site

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CALGARY — The city of Calgary has applied to have one of its parks declared a national historic site.

Counc. Richard Pootmans says Battalion Park at Signal Hill is one of the most recognizable places in the city, yet many Calgarians don't know its significance.

Pootmans says it was almost 100 years ago when the first of 40,000 troops started arriving to train for the First World War.

Thousands of rocks were placed by soldiers on the side of the hill to form their battalion numbers.

He says the application to have the park designated a national historic site began in the summer.

Battalion Park already has municipal and provincial historic site designations.

"What had happened is that the federal government had opened up a training centre just north of Quebec City in Valcartier, and because the attrition rates were so high, a second camp was required,'' Pootmans explained Wednesday. "I find it a very moving site.''

He said he received phone calls as recently as this week from people wondering what the big white numbers at Battalion Park represent.

"There's work to be done in sensitizing people to the importance of this site. I think it's the most important WWI site in Western Canada, because ... soldiers were gathered from this entire area.''

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