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

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

The It’s Critical campaign has raised $5.89 million towards its $7 million goal to expand critical care capacity at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Critical care improvements make the list with Greater Victoria shoppers

Save-On-Foods pledges $300,000 to Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s It’s Critical campaign

West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities face a challenging future in terms of funding, due to reduced operations throughout the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore Parks and Recreation faces challenging future

West Shore Parks and Recreation Society submits 2021 budget request to owner municipalities

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon to listen to speakers decry COVID-19 restrictions. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Victoria residents protest masks, COVID-19 restrictions

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after cancellations on Friday due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Most Read