It was an emotional occasion for approximately 150 people who turned out to the court yard near the Monterey Recreation Centre and the Greater Victoria Public Library in Oak Bay, as a plaque dedicated to the late mayor Nils Jensen was unveiled.
The memorial was initiated last November with the goal of having Jensen at the unveiling. Kevin Murdoch, mayor of Oak Bay, addressed the crowd which included Nils Jensen’s son, Stewart, and his wife Jean Thomson — who stood hand in hand throughout the event. Jensen died Sunday, April 7 after a short battle with cancer.
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“The original intent was to share this with him and to have him stand beside us and to recognize, face to face, the work that he did,” said Murdoch. “While he’s not here today, we did have a chance to unveil that plaque [for him].”
Stewart Jensen called the large turn out humbling.
“Dad gave 22 years of service as mayor and on council and he was incredibly proud of that time,” he said. “It’s heart warming to see that the community has a similar feeling … It’s a really proud day for our family.”
Linda Lindsay, the artist behind the 2018 ArtsAlive M’akhotso, Mother of Peace statue — which stands just across from the plaque — addressed the crowd as well, sharing the meaning behind the piece and the connection to Nils, who immigrated to Canada from Denmark.
“That you would think of my piece humbles me,” said Lindsay, looking directly at the Jensen family. “…It’s an amazing thing, this process of immigration — people coming from everywhere, coming together and making countries better.”
The Mayor’s Legacy Fund is raising money to purchase the statue to honour the former mayor.
Along with his passion for the arts, Stewart Jensen remembers his father for his kind soul.
“More than what he accomplished, was how he conducted himself,” he said. “… He made you feel good, he made you laugh, he was positive, he made everything fun and I think that, more than anything, has brought people out today.”