Legion switches Remembrance ceremony venue

By Jordan Parker
A decades-old tradition will change next month when the local Royal Canadian Legion moves their Remembrance Day ceremony from the Lyceum Theatre to the revered Elks Hall building.

Bruce Freestone, who has been the Legion’s president for four years, led the charge to make the switch.

“At our last meeting, I suggested the scenario and everyone stood up and said it was the greatest thing,” said Freestone.

This isn’t the first time the Gull Lake Legion has had to change venues. They started at the Gull Lake Cenotaph, but changing needs of older veterans required a scenery switch.

“30 years ago the members were getting older. In this area, November can get to be -30 C.  It’s just sometimes not conducive to going to the cenotaph,” said Freestone.  “We switched to the school and then the theatre.”

Freestone and the legion made the decision that they would go to the theatre and lay wreaths at the cenotaph “if it was nice
enough.”

“But it soon got to the point where we didn’t go to the cenotaph at all. It left us to susceptible to the cold and people in
wheelchairs had trouble there,” said Freestone.

The physical legion building presented a new set of problems for veterans because the kitchen and bathroom were in the
basement.

“We would have to haul food upstairs and vets couldn’t make it downstairs to the bathroom, so we decided to start eating
at Elks Hall.

“They can handle 200-something people, have an amazing sound system and the kitchen is on the same floor,” said Freestone.

Freestone is pleased to have the community structure, and hasn’t heard about how much the venue will cost, although it
doesn’t much matter to him. The old building with a roof in need of repair could use the revenue Freestone wants to set forward.

“We will pay them because they need to survive … We’re a small town and we need to help one another here,” said Freestone.

“We can’t afford to lose the Elks Hall and we have to support it.”

via The Gull Lake ADVANCE http://ift.tt/1t0JXjx

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