NIPIGON – The hall of the Royal Canadian Legion - Branch 32 was packed with more people than available chairs on Saturday as residents from the community came out to pay their respects for Canada’s veterans.
The Remembrance Day ceremony In Nipigon was organized as it is every year by members of the local Legion and Vice President of Branch 32, Rebecca Haskel-Maidment said that a lot more people came out to pay their respects on Saturday than they’ve grown used to seeing over the pandemic.
“I was here last year and there really wasn't very many people but I think with COVID and stuff like that, people just weren't coming out and just probably because of that,” she said.
“And since our legion has had more members and we're doing more things and we're having more events, I think it's out there again that it's OK to come back out.”
In addition to higher attendance more wreaths were laid by donation with a total of 72 being donated by local business and families who wished to honour passed loved ones.
Mary Ellen Roy, Treasurer of Branch 32 said that she believes the outpouring of community support comes from the branch engaging more with the community and hosting more events.
“So, you know, we've had dances, we've had kids events and stuff where we've asked for donations in the past and we've been overwhelmed with the response,” she said.
“So that we actually went over the number of wreaths that we usually have. It wasn't a big shock, but it's just reassuring to know that the companies and the groups and the families around town are starting to back up at the Legion again, and so that things can start getting into the swing of things again, so that this is the center of the community.”
Mayor Suzanne Kukko said that this year’s Legion event was the first that she could attend as she would normally attend with her children at their school, but she was proud to see the support offered to Canadian veterans by the community she represents.
"It’s very important. There was a stage full of wreaths from the businesses, from families in memory of loved ones who've served, and it was just very heartening to to see all the people come out and to see all those folks who had donated wreaths,” she said.
“There's huge support here in Nipigon for our veterans and for the Legion and it was wonderful to see.
The Legion is also asking area residents to send in photographs of loved ones who have served Canada so that they can be added to a Wall of Honour in the Legion which is hoped to be completed by the new year.