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

Saanich golfer and top B.C. junior and juvenile player Willy Bishop was named to the 2021 Canadian National Junior Golf Squad on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy Jenny Bishop)
Saanich student to tee-off with national golf team

Willy Bishop, 16, named to Canadian National Junior Golf Squad in 2021

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Four new COVID-19 cases added to Saanich Peninsula Hospital outbreak

Inital round of patient testing is complete, staff testing continues

A rendering of Victoria Wonderland, a drive-thru immersive holiday experience that has been cancelled due to COVID-19. (Courtesy of Transcend Victoria)
Victoria Wonderland drive-thru show cancelled due to COVID-19

Organizers hope to host a similar event, if restrictions allow, in the new year

Swiftsure International Yacht Race 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Popular Swiftsure yacht race cancelled for second consecutive year

International sailing race hopes to run its 77th event in 2022

Andrew McBride is among those who deck out for Sea of Lights floating ship parade annually. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pandemic sinks Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s Sea of Lights

Oak Bay club encourages donations to the charities event supports

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

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 Dec. 1

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

Watch Messiah at home with the Sooke Philharmonic

Concert available to stream Dec. 12

Emergency crews used a backhoe loader to clear fire debris from the scene of a fire on Wesley Street Thursday as police and firefighters gathered up propane tanks, stoves and fireplaces used by camp residents to heat tents. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo dismantles downtown homeless encampment after fire

Four to six tents burned up in Wesley Street fire Thursday, Dec. 3

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read