Photo Courtesy of The Advance
By Tim Kalinowski
On Monday, May 5 the Gull Lake Legion will hold a special ceremony at the community cenotaph honouring the Canadian soldiers who served in Holland during the Second World War. The Legion’s three remaining Second World War vets Dayton Toney, Dwight Small and Al Countryman, who all served in Holland, will be on hand to honour their comrades and meet any locals who wish to attend. Gull Lake Legion president Bruce Freestone says the May 5 Liberation of Holland ceremony is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of these veterans and to reach out to the public to help bring awareness and education about what Canadian soldiers went through in Holland all those many years ago.
“These three gentlemen are all 90 or older and their memories are getting more dim. It makes them feel good when we can bring them to the cenotaph so they can remember and knowing they were involved in such a significant effort. Because these three remaining veterans were there within a few kilometres of the signing of that ceasefire, we think it’s a good way to remember,” says Freestone.
During the Second World War the Allies assigned Canadians the difficult task of opening up Dutch and Belgian sea-ports so the Allied war effort could be re-supplied closer to its ultimate goal in Germany. The Battle of the Scheldt was one of the most brutal battles of the war where Canadian soldiers were forced to fight in waist to chest high water over flooded dikes against a well-entrenched and determined German army. This monumental battle earned the Canadians the nickname the “Water Rats.” Following their great success in the Scheldt the Canadian army continued to move through Holland fighting several vicious battles before a ceasefire was signed on May 5 between occupying German armies and the Canadians just three days before the German army unconditionally surrendered ending the Second World War in Europe. Canadian soldiers were horrified to see how many of the Dutch population had been starved nearly to death by the occupying forces, and helped wherever they could to help the Dutch with their own rations and supplies. To this day Canadian soldiers are revered in Holland for what they did to liberate the Dutch people in 1944-1945.
Freestone says he hopes many in the Gull Lake area will come out to help these veterans remember.
“It’s open to anyone who wants to come to join us at the cenotaph, and we’re going to go out to one of the local restaurants after. We’re simply going to be at the cenotaph, and we’re going to have the horn player do the Last Post and the Act of Remembrance with the flag at half-mast. And lay a few wreaths on behalf of some of the soldiers who didn’t come back from Holland, and commemorating those that did come back but are no longer with us.”
The May 5 Liberation of Holland remembrance ceremony will start at 11 a.m. Those coming out are asked to be at the cenotaph across from Gull Lake Town Hall by 10:45 a.m.
Article via: The Advance
In an effort to preserve the heritage property, the Town of Gull Lake acquired the Wong Guy Shoe Shop, which has been preserved since it closed its doors in the late-1970s
Gull Lake Communities in Bloom about building a stronger community through nature
By Tim Kalinowski
When people think about the environment in southwest Saskatchewan they tend to think about native grasslands, places like the Cypress Hills or Great Sand Hills and being out on the land. But for the majority of southwest Saskatchewan residents who enjoy town-life the environment can mean doing things better in their day to day lives by using less environmentally harmful chemicals in their home chores, recycling, decreasing their energy usage or even composting. There are many ways to live a more environmentally sustainable life and be in tune with nature. Certainly one of the best ways for the town dweller to forge that natural connection has got to be gardening. Gardening gets you outside, makes you more aware of the natural rhythms of life around you and embodies that fundamental idea of good stewardship so important to local residents.
Bev Potter is the former owner of the Gull Lake Greenhouse and a life-long avid gardener. In the last few years she has become a committee member for the local chapter of Communities in Bloom (CiB) and a strong advocate for a greener, more beautiful Gull Lake. Potter says she has always loved gardening even at a young age and feels gardening has continued to enhance her appreciation for the natural world year after year.
“I like being outside enjoying nature,” says Potter. “Gardening slows you down and centres you somehow. You’re not so rush rush hurry hurry. You’ve got time to contemplate life while you are gardening. It makes you more aware of your environment, the impact you have on it and of looking after nature.”
Green and growing things also enhance the quality of life in a community and help make for a better relationship between neighbours, says Potter.
“In public areas I’d like to see more flowers and greenery. But things like the community garden and public green spaces are really good for the town. It’s nice to have people walk through the park and have these green spaces for people to spend time in. It just makes it a nicer community to live in.”
Potter says while Gull Lake residents have always maintained nice yards and gardens Communities in Bloom focuses everyone on the task of using their green thumbs to better their community. Potter believes when people enjoy beautiful surroundings they become better people and better citizens.
“I just think when you drive through towns that have flowers everywhere it just makes you feel like somebody cares about the community,” explains Potter. “They care what their community looks like and it just adds a whole different aspect.”
Fellow Gull Lake resident, local Communities in Bloom chairman and town councillor Ed Lowenberger couldn’t agree more with Potter. Lowenberger says his family’s garden has always given him a refuge to go to and think through life’s problems.
“I don’t know of very many people that don’t sit out in their yard in the summer time and think and dream about how they want this to look or that to look,” says Lowenberger. “You may see something that you have looked at countless number of other times and all of sudden you look at it just a little different way and it will spark your imagination … For our family, other than the obvious of supplying us with some fresh vegetables and produce, it gives a person a sense of relaxation and satisfaction in being able to produce something with your own hands.”
Lowenberger is hoping to encourage more people in CiB’s second year to get involved, get growing and volunteering to make Gull Lake a greener and more beautiful place. And there are lots of ways to get involved, says Lowenberger — from beautifying and tidying up your own home or business to coming out to volunteer some time weeding in public green spaces to taking over a plot in Gull Lake’s new community garden.
“As far as people getting involved with (CiB), most people in town have a garden. And those that don’t, in my opinion, are missing out on something truly unique… It does enhance the life of people in the community,” says Lowenberger.
Gull Lake Communities in Bloom annual spring clean-up begins on April 22 and goes all week. CiB encourages community members to take part in helping to clean-up Gull Lake’s public places as well as their own yards and homes.
PHOTO: Bev Potter of Gull Lake Communities in Bloom is looking forward to getting out into her garden again this spring.
By Craig Baird
It all started with an idea for the Town of Gull Lake. How do you make an already beautiful town, even more beautiful? The answer came through Communities in Bloom. At first, it had begun with a flower here, a flower there in April and May but by June, the entire town was blooming. Trees were planted where lots were once empty, signs were replaced and the entire community jumped on board the endeavour.
The recycling centre, once only a lot with a few bins, now featured several trees. An old building across the street now had its entire siding replaced. The 104 year old building that houses the local newspaper also went through extensive renovations prior to Communities in Bloom.
One night the fire hydrants were a dull colour, the next, they were a vibrant red, painted by the town crews to make the town stand out.
Through all of this hard work, the volunteers of Communities in Bloom must be singled out. Volunteers with the town spent every weekend of the spring and summer, painting, cleaning and constructing. Almost overnight a community garden had sprung up, tended to by volunteers and local school children.
The swimming pool had a fresh coat of paint and all over town houses were being spruced up prior to the day the judges would arrive. It was impossible to walk down any street and find a house that didn’t have flowers planted somewhere on the property.
If there was a prize for the town that saw the biggest change and most community involvement, chances are you would see Gull Lake in the top three at the very least.
It was a spring and summer of the community banding together and showing why this little town on the TransCanada was one of the most bloomin’ beautiful in Canada.