A pond in southwest Edmonton was dedicated Saturday to a Second World War veteran in recognition of his service and generous support of local and sports communities.

The Arbours of Keswick community held a ceremony on Saturday for Gordon King Pond, and streets King Vista SW, King Wynd, King Landing SW and King Gate, all of which were named in honour of 99-year-old Gordon King.

King served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, surviving as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III after his plane was shot down over Germany in 1942. He helped dig three escape tunnels out of the camp—which has become known as “The Great Escape”—but narrowly missed his window of opportunity when the tunnels were discovered the night he was set to leave.

After moving to Edmonton in 1965, he contacted other ex-prisoners of war to form the Edmonton branch of the Ex-POW Association. In 2006, he received a Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation. King also served in the Canadian military, the YMCA, and volunteered with the meals-on-wheels program, among other things.

"He’s (been) the president of so many groups and volunteer associations. Anytime something came to Edmonton, he’d volunteer for it,” said his daughter, championship curler Cathy King.

She attended the service with her father and other family members.

“He probably forgets what he’s done, he’s 99 years old!" she joked. "But he’s an amazing man. ... He’s taught us how to be part of the community, how to volunteer, how to help out, how to be leaders." 

The dedications, which were announced by the city in 2016, are considered an honour by King and his family.

“We really are just so thankful the city has recognized him for doing all those things over the years," his daughter said.