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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT

THE RIGHT HONOROBLE SIR ROBERT LAIRD BORDEN

SUBJECT:

The Right Hon. Sir Robert Laird Borden Grave Site Grave Sites of Canadian Prime Ministers Monitoring Report Beechwood Cemetery Ottawa, Ontario

TO:

Madame Julie Dompierre, Director Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC) Secretariat Les Terrasses de la Chaudire 25, Eddy Street, Gatineau, 5th floor Quebec K1A 0M5

FOR:

National Program for the Grave Sites of Canadian Prime Ministers

[Grave Sites of Canadian Prime Ministers Monitoring Report: The Right Hon. Sir R. L. Borden]

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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


PREPARED BY: Shelley Bruce Conservation Certification Advisor Heritage Programs Branch Parks Canada Vancouver, BC February 9, 2012

DATE:

1.0 GENERAL INFORMATION DATE OF INSPECTION: PC FIELD UNIT CONTACT: September 15, 2011 Jennifer Duquette National Historic Sites Program Manager Eastern Ontario 613.449.4702 Partly cloudy, 11oC

CLIMATIC CONDITIONS:

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE GRAVE ENVIRONMENT: Established in 1873, Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery is the final resting place for over 75,000 Canadians, including Canadian Forces Veterans, War Dead, RCMP members, Governors-General and Prime Ministers. The Right Honourable Sir Robert Laird Borden and his wife Laura are buried beside one another in the cemetery. Beechwood is also the home of the National Military Cemetery and the RCMP National Memorial Cemetery, and is a national historic site. It was designated a national historic site in 2001 because it is an exceptional example of 19th-century rural cemetery design characterised by a naturalistic, pastoral and picturesque landscape. In 2009, it was designated as the National Cemetery of Canada. Still a very large and active cemetery, Beechwood is known for its very picturesque nature with its varied topography, mature areas of trees, lush grassed grave areas and numerous memorial sites rockeries and specialised gardens. The gardening program continues to enhance the grounds through the introduction of various plantings that are sometimes inspired by the incredibly varied multicultural presence in the cemetery. Borden's plot is located a short distance in from the cemetery's front entrance. The plot consists of a flagstone walkway (runs north from the asphalt roadway) that leads visitors to the awareness panel and the two low triangular in profile granite grave markers. To the east of the grave markers is the Canadian flag with the 125th plaque installed on the
[Grave Sites of Canadian Prime Ministers Monitoring Report: The Right Hon. Sir R. L. Borden]

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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


same concrete base. Immediately behind the grave markers is the large rusticated granite Borden family cross. The site rises up from the roadway about 30 cm but is generally flat and covered with grass throughout. Adjacent plantings are not directly associated with the Borden plot. This includes two densely planted annual flower beds that run along the roadway, a few shrubs, and trees including a Sugar Maple and several Colorado Blue Spruce trees.

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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


2.0 COMPONENTS OBSERVATION AND RECOMMENDED ACTIONS 1. Awareness Panel

Description: The aluminum awareness panel is centered at the end of the flag stone path. The panels stand is anchored to a concrete base surrounded by a single row of flag stones.

Observation: The collar at the base of the post for the awareness panel is scraped and dented. Since the 2005 assessment, there are significantly more scrapes. Recommended Action: Medium Priority: A new collar at the base should be installed. To prevent further damage, maintenance staff should be cautioned about using equipment around the base.

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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


Observation: The mounting plate supporting the awareness panel is rusting. Recommended Action: Medium Priority: All rust should be removed and the mounting plate sanded and repainted with an appropriate black paint to match.

Observation: All red paint from the two Canadian flags on the Awareness Panel has almost completely worn off since the 2005 assessment. Recommended Action: High Priority: Where needed, the red paint should be touched up with the correct colour and paint.

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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


Observation: On the Awareness Panel, the gasket around the cameo is starting to deteriorate. Recommended Action: Low Priority: The cameo's gasket needs to be replaced if it cannot be repaired.

Observation: Behind the Awareness Panel in the nook between the panel and the post, cob webs form that collect general debris. Recommended Action: Ongoing Priority: As maintenance staff complete their rounds, the material can be removed by hand.

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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


2. Flagpole

Description: Found to the east of the grave markers, the flagpole was installed on a concrete base with the 125th plaque.

Observation: The plastic lining for the flag ring has now started to deteriorate. There are two areas of wear along the height of the flag pole where the anodized black finish has worn away. Recommended Action: High Priority: Contact the flagpole manufacturer to determine what implications the loss of the black coating has on the life of the flagpole. If required, replace the flag ring.

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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


3. 125th Confederation Anniversary Plaque

Description: Found to the east of the grave markers, the 125th plaque was installed on the same concrete base as the flagpole.

Observation: The 125th Anniversary Plaque's gold finished boarder is starting to deteriorate but the background colour appears to be in good condition (unlike what was noted in 2005). Recommended Action: Medium Priority: Refinish the plaque following the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada specifications for plaque repairs.

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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


Observation: The mounting plate that supports the plaque is now starting to rust at the seam with the plaque. Recommended Action: Medium Priority: All rust should be removed and the mounting plate sanded and repainted with an appropriate black paint to match.

Observation: As noted in 2005, the concrete base for the flag pole plaque continues to collect biotic organisms on all surfaces. Recommended Action: Ongoing Priority: The concrete base should be cleaned with water and a soft brush on an annual basis if required to maintain a vegetation-free surface. High pressure water, herbicides or detergents should not be used in the cleaning process.

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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


4. Former Prime Ministers Grave Marker

Description: The matching low triangular in profile grey granite markers are next to one another. The backs and sides of the markers are gently rusticated with the chamfered face being flat, smooth and containing inscriptions. Their inscriptions are: Robert Laird Borden Born Grand Pres N.S. 1854 Died Ottawa ONT. 1937 Laura Bond Window of Robert Laird Borden Born Halifax N.S. 1864 Died Ottawa ONT. 1940 Observation: Borden's granite marker is in generally good condition except that the amount of staining and biological growth has significantly increased since the 2005 assessment. Recommended Action: High Priority: Borden's marker should be cleaned with water and a soft brush. High pressure water, herbicides or detergents should not be used in the cleaning process.
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Observation: On the rear face of the granite marker, some spalling has been detected. Recommended Action: Ongoing Priority: The spalling on the rear of Borden's marker should be monitored over the next couple of years before proposing any remedial action.

Observation: The inscription in the marker for the Prime Minister's wife is now quite seriously obscured by lichens and other biological growth. Recommended Action: High Priority: Mrs. Borden's marker should be cleaned with water and a soft brush. High pressure water, herbicides or detergents should not be used in the cleaning process.

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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


Observation: The granite Borden cross is in generally good condition. At the joint where the cross meets the base, there is the tendency for debris to collect and some dark discolouration/staining has begun on a couple of sides. Recommended Action: Ongoing Priority: As maintenance staff complete their rounds, the debris can be removed by hand. The discolouration should be monitored before proposing any remedial action.

Observation: On the back of the granite cross a small but deep spall or blister has begun. Recommended Action: Ongoing Priority: The spall or blister on the back of the granite cross should be monitored over the next couple of years before proposing any remedial action.

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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


5. Vegetation (trees, shrubs, plant material, lawn)

Description: The overall quality of Beechwood's vegetation is very good as a result of the cemetery's well organized maintenance regime. The planting of annuals throughout the cemetery is extensive and they are very well cared for. The grass can be spotty in places but appears to be in better health than in 2005.

Observation: Directly behind the Borden cross, are several maple and spruce trees that contain dead branches that should be removed to eliminate the possibility that they may fall and damage the memorial. Recommended Action: High Priority: The maple and spruce trees should be pruned in the winter of 2012 by an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture.

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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


Observation: There are several instances, such as the slope down to the road next to the winged burning bushes, where there are dead patches of grass or areas that are almost predominantly weeds. Recommended Action: Ongoing Priority: The areas where the grass has died should be top-dressed and re-seeded with a shade tolerant grass species. Weeds should be addressed using the cemetery's regular methods.

Observation: To the side of the memorial are two sizable winged burning bushes that have excessive dead branches which are affecting the overall look of the specimens. Recommended Action: Low Priority: The shrubs should be pruned in early spring 2013 by an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture.

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6. Landscape features (pavement, benches and others)

Description: The only landscape feature associated with the Borden plot is a flagstone walkway that runs north from the cemetery roadway.

Observation: Most of the limestone paving is generally in good condition. The three pavers that were out of horizontal alignment in 2005 have not been re-set. Recommended Action: Medium Priority: The three pavers should be lifted and re-set to be level with the adjacent pavers.

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Observation: One limestone pavers has delaminated on its rear face and the broken piece is clearly visible. Recommended Action: Medium Priority: The pavers should be lifted and inspected to confirm its integrity. If it can be reused, the broken piece should be removed, and the paver re-set to be level with the adjacent pavers. If not possible to reuse, the paver should be replaced in kind.

3.0 PREVIOUS CONSERVATION INTERVENTIONS 1994 The Canada 125 plaque was erected immediately in front of the grave site. The plaque was part of an initiative to celebrate the one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of Confederation by recognizing the grave sites of former Prime Ministers of Canada. A flag pole and awareness panel were installed as part of the National Program for the Graves Sites of Canadian Prime Ministers. Because of a concern for cluttering the site, the Canada 125 plaque was relocated to be lower to the ground, in the same footing as the flagpole and immediately in front of it. The cemetery installed a water line along the north side of the roadway in front of the Borden grave site. The line is buried about 30 cm below the ground surface. As part of this work the slope leading from the plateau to the road was changed to remove a drainage swale at the side of the road. Drainage in front of the site is now carried along the road surface.

1999

4.0 SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS Awareness Panel Medium Priority: A new collar at the base should be installed. To prevent further damage, maintenance staff should be cautioned about using equipment around the base.
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Medium Priority: All rust should be removed and the mounting plate sanded and repainted with an appropriate black paint to match. High Priority: Where needed, the red paint should be touched up with the correct colour and paint. Low Priority: The cameo's gasket needs to be replaced if it cannot be repaired. Ongoing Priority: As maintenance staff complete their rounds, the material can be removed by hand.

Flag Pole High Priority: Contact the flagpole manufacturer to determine what implications the loss of the black coating has on the life of the flagpole. If required, replace the flag ring. 125thConfederation Anniversary Plaque Medium Priority: Refinish the plaque following the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada specifications for plaque repairs. Medium Priority: All rust should be removed and the mounting plate sanded and repainted with an appropriate black paint to match. Ongoing Priority: The concrete base should be cleaned with water and a soft brush on an annual basis if required to maintain a vegetation-free surface. High pressure water, herbicides or detergents should not be used in the cleaning process.

Former Prime Minister's Grave Marker High Priority: Borden's marker should be cleaned with water and a soft brush. High pressure water, herbicides or detergents should not be used in the cleaning process. Ongoing Priority: The spalling on the rear of Borden's marker should be monitored over the next couple of years before proposing any remedial action. High Priority: Mrs. Borden's marker should be cleaned with water and a soft brush. High pressure water, herbicides or detergents should not be used in the cleaning process.
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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


Ongoing Priority: As maintenance staff complete their rounds, the debris can be removed by hand. The discolouration should be monitored before proposing any remedial action. Ongoing Priority: The spall or blister on the back of the granite cross should be monitored over the next couple of years before proposing any remedial action.

Vegetation (trees, shrubs, plant material, lawn) High Priority: The maple and spruce trees should be pruned in the winter of 2012 by an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture. Ongoing Priority: The areas where the grass has died should be top-dressed and re-seeded with a shade tolerant grass species. Weeds should be addressed using the cemetery's regular methods. Low Priority: The shrubs should be pruned in early spring 2013 by an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture.

Landscape features (pavement, benches and others) Medium Priority: The three pavers should be lifted and re-set to be level with the adjacent pavers. Medium Priority: The pavers should be lifted and inspected to confirm its integrity. If it can be reused, the broken piece should be removed, and the paver re-set to be level with the adjacent pavers. If not possible to reuse, the paver should be replaced in kind.

Here is a summary of the recommended actions over the next five coming years: Recommendations Awareness Panel 2012 2013 A new collar at the base should be installed. To prevent further damage, maintenance staff should be cautioned about using 2014 2015 2016

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equipment around the base. All rust should be removed and the mounting plate sanded and repainted with an appropriate black paint to match. Where needed, the red paint should be touched up with the correct colour and paint. The cameo's gasket needs to be replaced if it cannot be repaired. As maintenance staff complete their rounds, the material can be removed by hand. Contact the flagpole manufacturer to determine what implications the loss of the black coating has on the life of the flagpole.
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Flagpole

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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


If required, replace the flag ring. 125th Confederation Anniversary Plaque Refinish the plaque following the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada specifications for plaque repairs. All rust should be removed and the mounting plate sanded and repainted with an appropriate black paint to match. The concrete base should be cleaned with water and a soft brush on an annual basis if required to maintain a vegetation-free surface. High pressure water, herbicides or detergents should not be used in the cleaning process. Borden's marker should be cleaned with water and a soft brush. High pressure water, herbicides or detergents should not
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Former Prime Minister's Grave Marker

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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


be used in the cleaning process. The spalling on the rear of Borden's marker should be monitored over the next couple of years before proposing any remedial action. Mrs. Borden's marker should be cleaned with water and a soft brush. High pressure water, herbicides or detergents should not be used in the cleaning process. As maintenance staff complete their rounds, the debris can be removed by hand. The discolouration should be monitored before proposing any remedial action. The spall or blister on the back of the granite cross should be monitored over the next couple of years before proposing any remedial action. The maple . and spruce trees should be pruned in the winter of 2012 by an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture The areas where the grass has died should be top-dressed and
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Vegetation (trees, shrubs, plant material, lawn)

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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


re-seeded with a shade tolerant grass species. Weeds should be addressed using the cemetery's regular methods. The shrubs should be pruned in early spring 2013 by an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture. The three pavers should be lifted and reset to be level with the adjacent pavers. The pavers should be lifted and inspected to confirm its integrity. If it can be reused, the broken piece should be removed, and the paver re-set to be level with the adjacent pavers. If not possible to reuse, the paver should
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Landscape features (pavement, benches and others)

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GRAVE SITES OF CANADIAN PRIME MINISTERS MONITORING REPORT


be replaced in kind.

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