Lynx armoured vehicle 'invades' Pasadena

It's been turning heads on Main Street since it showed up in Pasadena, N.L.: an armoured vehicle parked in front of the town's legion.

Now, the legion's president hopes it brings people to the branch and makes them think about what it offers the community. 

Morgan Simmons, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 68, says he never anticipated the level of attention the vehicle parked in the front of the building would attract.

"People were pulling up on the side of the road [as we were unloading it] and my Facebook page lit up like a Christmas tree with comments — and all positive comments," said Simmons, a veteran of the Afghanistan war.

The Lynx, not to be confused with a tank, was mainly used for reconnaissance. It's about eight tonnes and can be propelled through water by its tracks. It was used in the Canadian Forces from the late 1960s up until 1993, when it was replaced by the Coyote reconnaissance vehicle.

Troy Turner, CBC

The Lynx on display in Pasadena no longer has a motor and the doors have been welded shut. It was previously on display at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick before being put on a flatbed and trucked to Pasadena.

Simmons said the opportunity to have the display arose after chatting with Col. Keith Osmond, base commander at Gagetown and a Pasadena native.

"We didn't know if we would get a wing off a plane, a small submarine or whatever the case may be," Simmons said. "We threw a bug in the ear and got a few wheels turning there with the base commander."

In addition to display's visual aspect, Simmons said having the Lynx in front of the legion also carries a deeper meaning, especially so close to Remembrance Day.

"It's all about the remembrance and the symbolization of what it is to remember the war dead, and our current serving members, and put Pasadena on the map as a community that is very dear to the sovereign of our country by remembering."

Troy Turner, CBC

'A lot of pride'

For Andy Ford, discovering the Lynx on display in his hometown was a special moment.

"There was a lot of pride when I first seen it," he said. "I drove by and saw it and was very happy."

When Ford enlisted in the Canadian Forces in 1982, the first armoured vehicle he worked aboard was a Lynx. He said space in the vehicle was tight, but it was fast and great to handle — in water or land.

"It's a cosy vehicle, but [there's] not a lot of room and not a lot of comfort," said the legion's third vice-president. "But it's a quick vehicle — you get to about 70 km/h in that thing. It was just fun to drive."

The legion plans to put lights around the vehicle to bring further prominence to its placement.

Veterans Way

To also draw further prominence to the role of the legion and veterans in general, Branch 68 wants the Town of Pasadena to change the name of Main Street to "Veterans Way."

Simmons said they've yet to make official representation but will put together a proposal to have the change made.

Troy Turner, CBC

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