Remembrance Day across the area

·5 min read

Remembrance Day ceremonies across Leeds and Grenville this year will look a little different.

This year there are various Remembrance Day services and ceremonies throughout the two counties.

The public and fellow veterans will be remembering and honouring Canada's fallen heroes at various ceremonies. Many local Royal Canadian Legion branches have been preparing for their annual Remembrance Day ceremonies as Nov. 11 approaches.

While the Ontario government will be allowing large-scale organized outdoor events, which will allow full capacity for Remembrance Day ceremonies, many Legions have already prepared to have smaller or altered services.

Some of the upcoming ceremonies hosted by local Legions will resemble last year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies and members of the public planning to attend the ceremonies are asked to follow current COVID-19 procedures.

Ralph McMullen, president of Legion Branch 96 in Brockville, said this year's ceremony on Nov. 11 will look similar to the service hosted last year.

"There's no parade like we’d normally have," he added.

According to McMullen, there will be some dignitaries attending who will pre-lay wreaths. Those who want to lay their own wreath will be able to do so after the ceremony, which will begin at 11 a.m.

"We're going to be having a very scaled-back ceremony, quite similar to what we had last year," said Jay Tousaw, poppy chairman for the Kemptville Legion Branch 212.

The Kemptville Legion will be hosting a small service at the Kemptville cenotaph located at the former site of the North Grenville District High School on Prescott Street and will be starting at roughly 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 11.

Like last year, there will be no parade and no reception following the ceremony at the Kemptville Legion; there will also be no wreath-laying ceremony as they will be pre-laid.

In support of the poppy campaign, the Legion is planning to have a pop-up drive-through poppy sale at the Canadian Tire parking lot this weekend, which will allow residents to purchase a poppy from the comfort of their car, said Tousaw.

In Rideau Lakes there will be two services, including a ceremony this Sunday, Nov. 7, at 11 a.m. at Stone Mills Park in the village of Delta, where they will be laying wreaths and remembering the fallen.

The Portland Legion Branch 231 will be having an outdoor in-person service at the branch on Nov. 11.

David Wickenden, Westport Legion Branch 542 past president, said there is going to be a full ceremony in Westport this year, with a contingent coming from Kingston to exercise the Freedom of the City before the ceremony at 11 a.m. on Remembrance Day.

The contingent will march to the village hall just after 10 a.m., then down Bedford Street to the World War I plaque at the gates of Lockwood field where there will be a rededication ceremony with the colour party.

Following the ceremony they will make their way to Newboro for another service.

"Then the group is coming back to Rideau Vista Public School," where they’ll be greeted by the students, said Wickenden.

North Augusta will hold an in-person service on Nov. 11 at the cenotaph at 11 a.m.

In Merrickville, the local Legion Branch 245 will be having a ceremony at the Merrickville Cenotaph/Memorial Park on St. Lawrence Street, starting at 11 a.m.

Despite the Town Park revitalization project that has some of the park blocked off, the Remembrance Day ceremony hosted by the Lt.-Col. Russell Britton Branch 92 in Gananoque will go on.

The service is set to begin at 10:45 a.m. on Nov. 11. John Beddows, Remembrance Day co-ordinator, said that, although the Town Park will be a construction zone, they have arranged to have King Street East blocked off to vehicle traffic and the block fronting the cenotaph will be available for the public to stand and observe.

Guests are asked to practice current guidelines and maintain physical distancing. Larger groups like schools may be able to observe the ceremony from the side of the bandstand, added Beddows.

Branch 92 is opening its doors this year and invites the public in for a bowl of chili following the ceremony.

The Mallorytown Legion Branch 484 held its annual Remembrance Road service at County Road 5 in Mallorytown on Friday morning. The service honours fallen soldiers from the area. In the past, students from the nearby school attended, but because of COVID they did not this year.

There will also be a ceremony on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m in front of the Mallorytown Legion.

Smiths Falls Legion Branch 95 president Stan Lasenba said: "I think it will look pretty much like normal."

The ceremony will begin beside the Smiths Falls Memorial Community Centre at 10 a.m. on Nov. 11 at the Afghanistan mission LAV III monument.

While the public can return to the ceremony like normal, people who are double vaccinated and non-vaccinated will be segregated to different areas during the service, said Lasenba. Masks are encouraged for people who are non-vaccinated.

Following speeches, they will head to the Smiths Falls Public Library, where they will lay wreaths before heading back to the legion around 10:30 a.m. The parade will leave the Legion down to the cenotaph where the service is set to begin at 11 a.m.

(Jessica Munro 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.)

Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times

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