TORONTO -- Capt. Nichola Goddard was the first Canadian female to die in combat when she was killed in Afghanistan in 2006. Like most fallen soldiers, when she was repatriated, Canadians would line bridges over the Highway of Heroes, saluting the soliders as their remains were driven along Highway 401.

One of those bridges has been dedicated to Goddard’s memory and today at the Little Canada display of miniature Canadian cities in Toronto, the Highway of Heroes and Goddard’s bridge were unveiled.

Jean-Louis Brenninkmeijer, founder of Little Canada, said when he first came to Canada from The Netherlands 20 years ago and stood on a bridge watching the convoy pass, he was struck by how patriotic it was.

“It represents Canada in all its, everything Canada represents, its freedoms its values, its traditions,” Brenninkmeijer told CTV News Toronto.

The tradition wasn't started by government, but by a grassroots movement of people honouring the fallen, he said.

Afghan war veteran Kelly Scanlan remembers standing on the bridges as a civilian and paying tribute to fallen soldiers. Then, seeing it from the other side, watching the remains being sent back to Canada from the war zone.

“I served in Afghanistan and to stand in the other end of that ceremony and see our fallen loaded on to a plane and knowing this is where they were coming, knowing that Canadians were going to be there to honour them and welcome them home and that their families were going to know that they weren’t forgotten. “

At the dedication ceremony today, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, announced more than a half a million dollars in funding for the True Patriot Love Foundation, dedicated to helping soldiers return to civilian life.

“Whether it is support for group therapy or for women veterans dealing with sexual assault they experienced while abroad, we must support our veterans, and not just today or November 11th, every single day,” Fullerton said.