Every two years the Convention of the Royal Canadian Legion, Ontario Provincial Command, takes place, and this year’s event returns to North Bay. The city hosted the convention before, in June of 1965, and Callander’s Legion President Marc Picard is happy to see it return.
It was supposed to happen last year, but with Covid-19 concerns, organizers felt more comfortable postponing, so now the big event begins this weekend. Before that, local members are honouring the convention by raising a Legion Flag at North Bay City Hall on McIntyre Street East. All are welcome to attend the ceremony that begins at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, May 13th.
This convention has delegates from 393 Ontario Legions attending. Members are coming from all over Canada, Picard explained in a release, and he expects “Provincial Presidents from other provinces” will be in town as well.
Delegates begin to arrive on Friday, May 13, and Picard anticipates around 500 people will settle in for the event. Most of the convention takes place at Nipissing University, including voting for a new Provincial Executive, who will be elected before the conference ends on Tuesday, May 17th.
On Sunday morning, May 15th, legion members, and veterans will meet at North Bay’s Memorial Park Cenotaph on First Avenue for a wreath laying ceremony. The public is encouraged to attend. A parade will take place from the Cenotaph down Ferguson to the North Bay Museum.
North Bay Pipes and Drums and the Callander Legion Pipes and Drums are taking part, “as well as pipe band representatives from throughout Ontario” who will form a “mass band to lead the parade,” Picard explained.
Legion branches in Callander and West Ferris will also host evening events for the delegates, including the Biennial Provincial President’s Dinner, a craft beer tasting, and a wings and trivia night.
“It’s going to be a great convention for the community,” Picard said. “We look forward to people from the area lining the parade route” on Sunday “and supporting our veterans.”
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca