Brad Edgett, executive director of the Memorial Park Society, stands near the permanent display that shows the history of Memorial Park as a place of remembrance. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Brad Edgett, executive director of the Memorial Park Society, stands near the permanent display that shows the history of Memorial Park as a place of remembrance. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Remembrance Day ceremonies in Sidney mark a home-coming for Mary Winspear Centre

Centre to host small indoor ceremony, live-stream

It is a sort of homecoming for Remembrance Day when Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre hosts scaled-back Remembrance Day celebrations to be live-streamed.

It was almost a century ago that the Memorial Park Society (then called the Sidney and North Saanich War Memorial Park Society) first formed in 1921 to assume title of a 12-acre parcel of land that the Sidney Athletic Association and Sidney Women’s Auxiliary had previously acquired for athletic and recreational purposes. A year later, the War Memorial Park named in memory of soldiers who had fallen the First World War opened. Two years after that, the land located at Beacon Avenue and Oakland Avenue became the site of a memorial cenotaph.

A second, larger cenotaph appeared in the northwest corner of the land in 1932 before its move to the current location in front of municipal hall in 1969 after the provincial government had expropriated it for highway construction.

The land on which the Mary Winspear Centre now sits is deeply rooted in the history of Remembrance Day – a connection that has continued into the present with the centre serving as the starting point for the traditional parade down Beacon Avenue.

“So from our perspective, it’s always have been very important for the Memorial Park Society to be involved with Remembrance Day,” said Brad Edgett, the society’s executive director. “This was our way of saying, ‘How can we still be involved and give back to all of our fallen soldiers of (the First World War), (Second World War), of the Korean War, and all of our veterans, and still provide a service where everybody can participate.”

RELATED: PHOTOS: Hundreds gather in Sidney for Remembrance Day ceremony

Public health regulations have grounded the parade. Also missing from this year’s ceremony is a public wreath-laying ceremony at the cenotaph. Local dignitaries will lay their respective wreaths earlier that day. A trio of local Legion members will also lay wreaths.

This year’s indoor ceremony will actually start outdoors with a small parade, featuring a colour guard flanked by two army vehicles, from Sidney’s nearby firehall to the centre, where the ceremony will feature familiar outdoor elements, including the roll call, two minutes of silence and the Last Post. Michael Kaeshammer on piano and singer Rachel Moss supply the musical accompaniment during the ceremony, with a veterans’ audience consisting of surviving Second World Wars in the area. A flyover will follow.

Organizers hope residents will tune in to the live-stream of the event and find ways to mark the occasion in their own way.

Kenny Podmore of the Royal Canadian Legion Saanich Peninsula Branch #37 encourages residents to stand outside their homes starting at about 10:58 to do their own two minutes of silence. He also hopes that parents will encourage their children to make poppies for display in windows, while also educating them about the larger significance of Remembrance Day.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Vancouver Island Crisis Society has seen a five per cent rise in call volumes compared to this time last year. (Black Press Media file photo)
Winter blues a concern for Vancouver Islanders during COVID-19 Christmas season

Statistics show British Columbians anticipate worsening mental health

Jason Soukochoff is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, say Victoria police. (Courtesy VicPD)
Victoria police seek man with violent criminal history against elderly

Jason Soukochoff wanted on Canada-wide warrant for parole violations

The new plan informing development Central Saanich’s Saanichton Village calls for wider, greener sidewalks among other measures. (Black Press Media File)
Central Saanich signs off on Saanichton Village Plan

Plan will inform development applications within Saanichton

Bystanders attend to a cyclist who is knocked to the pavement of Oak Bay Avenue. Witnesses say the cyclist was knocked off their bike in a dooring incident on Oak Bay Avenue at Fell Street at around 12:40 p.m. on Wednesday. 
(Daniel Opden Dries Photo)
UPDATED: VicPD tickets driver for ‘dooring’ cyclist on Oak Bay Avenue

Incident occurred at Oak Bay Avenue and Fell Street

West Shore RCMP pulled over a 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee on Nov. 23 after noting that it didn’t appear safe for the road. (West Shore RCMP)
West Shore RCMP pull over vehicle held together by tape and cargo strap

RCMP deemed the vehicle unsafe for the road and had it towed away

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

An excavator was stolen from a rural property south of Nanaimo this month, say police. (Photos submitted)
Excavator stolen from property south of Nanaimo

Bobcat Mini believed to have been stolen between Nov. 12-14, say RCMP

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Most Read