Locals pay tribute to late Queen

·3 min read

A small crowd, of maybe 30 gathered at the Cenotaph in Gananoque on Monday at the recently renovated Town Park, braving a rainfall to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II – whose funeral was held in London on the same day at the historic Westminster Abbey.

The event was one of many across the area allowing residents to bid farewell to Britain's longest-serving monarch, ahead of a national day of mourning on Tuesday.

The Royal Canadian Legion also officially designated Monday as a national day of mourning throughout the organization.

In Smiths Falls, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 95 was to welcome the public and veterans to a service at the Cenotaph, while the Legion in Mallorytown also was to hold a memorial.

The same was the case in Prescott.

In an email to The Recorder and Times, Sandra Lawn, who served as mayor during the Queen's visit to Prescott in 1984, said she was thrilled at the event held at the Fort Town's cenotaph.

"The commentator had been in Prescott in 1984. It was a comfort to me when he pointed out my arrival at their event and how the Queen had gone down to review the troops," she noted.

Mayor Brett Todd noted the Prescott event included a group of Fencibles performing a cannonade in commemoration at Fort Wellington, including some locals with the Friends of Crysler’s Farm.

"It was very fitting way to mark the sad occasion of the Queen’s passing here at Fort Wellington in Prescott," Todd added in a message to The Recorder and Times.

In Brockville, a book of condolences has been in the lobby at City Hall since the Queen’s death, and the flags remain at half-mast. People were asked to sign the book of condolences before Monday at 4 p.m.

Nearby, the Brockville Railway Tunnel was lit up in Royal Blue to coincide with the Royal funeral.

The Gananoque ceremony was put together by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 92.

It was a brief ceremony, similar to a Remembrance Day one, lasting roughly 15 minutes. A few words were shared about the Queen and her service to the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. There was a laying of a wreath and a moment of silence.

After the ceremony ended, those in attendance, including locals and some representatives from the Town, the Gananoque Fire Department and Gananoque Police Service, placed poppies on the cenotaph, near a photo of the Queen, which was covered and shielded from the rainfall.

A lineup formed for the signing of a book of gratitude, which was to be made available for those to sign at the Legion afterwards, as well. The book is expected to be sent to the Royal Family.

"It was crucial that the Legion commemorated the event and thanked the King for the work his mother did over the last 70 years," Gananoque Mayor Ted Lojko said moments after signing the book of gratitude.

(With files from Brockville Recorder and Times staff)

(Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)

Keith Dempsey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times