This being an Olympic year, Almonte is moving in to grab a piece of the action. The Almonte Legion Little Olympics they plan to call it and It’s scheduled for July I, Dominion Day, 1968 at a 50-acr site built to official Olympic specifications. ‘The Almonte Legion has sponsored a July 1 track and field meet at this Ottawa Valley town 30 miles southwest of Ottawa for the past three years; and it has grown in size and quality every year on til in 1967 more than 200 of Ontario’s top athletes took part.
Runners, pole vaulters and hop-step-and-jumpers from all over the Valley and as far away as Toronto took part. Ottawa sent the Uplands Harriers and Olympia club members. In gearing this summer’s event for national recognition by the Amateur Athletes- Little Athletic Union as a top-flight Canadian track and field meet, Almonte is laying its unblemished record of triumphs in its own meet on the line.
“I think it was sheer weight of numbers,” jokes -Almonte High School track coach Don Maynard. That may be part of it, but in fact Almonte High School has dominated the Lanark County track and field scene in recent years. Almonte’s championship hopes this year are pegged on such performers as potential Canadian champ, Doug Sonnenberg. who reputedly can heave the eight – pound shot 56 feet outdoors, and pole, vaulter Ron Robinson, who has cleared close to 11 feet in intermediate “B” company.
Maynard and his troops would like a head-on collision with perennial Renfrew County champions from Arnprior District High School. Amprior athletes have won the Renfrew. County meet almost from the day Champlain lost his astrolobe near Cobden and last year became the first Valley school to win the Eastern Ontario aggregate championship in Ottawa.
Last year Almonte ran a series of twilight meets with athletes from such places as Cornwall and Toronto, and may try to set up the clash with Arnprior at such a dual meet this summer. The Almonte Legion, helped by a host of enthusiastic town citizens, has come up with a first rate layout and additional improvements are planned.
On the betterment list this year improved sanitary facilities to handle the big crowds expected. Ten years ago the high school athletes could expect two meets a year their own school’s and the county’s and that was it,” says Maynard. By comparison, May of this year will see the individual meets, the county meets (Lanark’s is at Almonte May 14), a Cornwall invitation meet May 10. and a Kemptville Legion invitation meet May 20.
The EOSSA meet at Cornwall May 18, and so on, and so on.Track and field. in Eastern Ontario is booming and with its fine quarter-mile cinder track and permanent pits at its big layout beside the Community Centre, Almonte figures to stay in the forefront of the boom.
Tonight I felt I should write you a letter because it’s almost November 11th. It was always a hallowed event in the Knight family each year and we were up with the birds that day as Grammy used to say. Mocha cakes had to be finished for the Legion refreshments, shoes and medals polished, and bodies attempted to get warmed up in advance for the parade.
Things have changed this year for Remembrance Day. There is a pandemic going on called COVID 19 and this year’s memorial ceremony is by invitation only. But, you will be pleased to know I have an invitation as I am a town councillor and I am honoured. I know you worry Grammy if I am well, and I am, and I will bring along a small chair this year as I can’t stand long. Last week I tripped on a rug, in of all places, a senior residence and my knee is blue and swollen.
I know Grampy has reminded you already that I should keep that stiff upper lip going and a Knight family member respects our veterans. I promise I won’t hover my rear end over the chair too long. Grampy’s stories of how hard life was in the cold and the muddy trenches in France have not been forgotten. Not one word Grammy, not one word of what he and others went through during the first World War. It will never leave my mind.
We have a Legion here in Carleton Place (Branch #192) and Mississippi Mills (Branch #240) and the people are wonderful just like Legion Branch #99 in Cowansville, Quebec. Things are not good for the Legions these days because of Covid. The Legions are just scraping by because donations are down and they can’t have their fundraisers or congregate. They now have to worry about how they are going to remain solvent from month to month.
Somehow the branches are managing to pay their bills but Winter is coming and the heating season begins. The Legions are at risk of closing forever, and 1 in 10 could permanently close this year. I know Grampy’s eyes are full of tears, because I know how hard Grampy worked to open branch Number 99 in 1946. Legions should never close, and I just hope that it isn’t too late for some of our branches if help does come from the government soon.
Each Remembrance Day I can still hear Grampy yelling out orders in the parade: ‘left right, left right’, even though I was the last one in the parade every year. I never understood why the Brownies were placed at the end and I was always pulling up the rear in my too short Brownie outfit, bare legs with knee socks with my Hush Puppies on and no boots. Standing at the cenotaph freezing to death and chattering with friends I always got the stink eye from Grampy who was always watching me. I could never avoid his stern gaze. ‘Respect, Linda, respect, remember what these men did for you’.
The solo bugle playing The Last Post would always make the odd strange noise from the cold outside on the first few notes and the freezing November breeze would circle around my legs turning them bright red. I could see tears in my Grandfather’s eyes, remembering his friends that never made it home. He just hoped they knew that we all still cared and remembered them.
Each Remembrance Day I remember, and I still remember the Remembrance Day pasts. I wish for a lot of things, but now besides remembering all the veterans I pray and hope for the saving of our local Legions. As you said Grampy: ‘I have seen war. I hate war!’
For years you lived in pain from being gassed in the trenches. As you said each time you had a migraine: ‘ I’ll be okay, but in the meantime I just have to hold strong’. We are trying Grampy, we are trying to keep these Legions and the memories going, but in the meantime like you we too just have to hold strong right now and stand firm.
I miss you so much..
This Remembrance Day have one less coffee, one less treat and please DONATE to your local legion. They are counting on you! Thank you!
Carleton Place- Branch 192
Donations are respectfully received at the Branch or by mail. Drop in for a visit any time the branch is open or make your donation by mail to Royal Canadian Legion Box 248, 177 George Street Carleton Place, ON K7C 3P4 State whether your donation is to Legion Branch 192 or The Poppy Campaign.
Our hours are restricted at this time because of Covid19 Check our facebook page for our current hours of operation. At this time they are Thurs 4 to 8 pm and Fri 3 to 7pm but subject to change
Almonte Branch 240
Donations to the Almonte Legion Br 240 can be done via e-transfer at: email@example.com or by cheque payable to Almonte Legion, Br 240 and mailed to PO Box 1090, 100 Bridge St., Almonte, ON, K0A 1A0 or by dropping into the Branch during our reduced hours which are: open at 4:00 pm on Thursday and Friday and 3:00 pm on Saturday.
Special to the Gazette
Cowansville, July 4, 1946 – The Canadian Legion, Cowansville branch, will inaugurate Monday at 8.30 p.m., a drive to erect a fitting Cowansville Veteran’s Memorial Hall building in this city.
Members of the Cowansville Branch, No. 99, of the legion are seeking premises containing necessary rooms for meetings and recreation. The site for the building has been given by Miss Nina M. Nesbitt, of Cowansville, and plans for the building have been provisionally approved.
On the evening of the inauguration the speakers will be His Worship Mayor E.A. Boisvert, Maj. Gen. C.B. Price, D.S.O., D.C.M., E.D., president of the Canadian Legion, and Capt. Henry Gonthier, past provincial president.
Veterans will then parade through the streets of Cowansville and a street dance will follow. The board of trustees is composed of Mayor Eugene Boisvert, L.L. Bruck, H.F. Vilas, A.G. Scott, D.J. Barker. Co-chairmen of the Cowansville Legion Memorial Hall Building Fund are, R.L. Brault and J.H. Wood, M.B.E., E.D. The president of the local legion is F.J. Knight.
Organized only last March 14 (1944), the Cowansville Branch of the Canadian Legion (Branch No. 99) has become one of the most active of the Province’s Legion branches. Originally formed with 20 veterans, the organization has grown to 65 in a short period of less than a year, and is now engaged in mapping plans for the re-establishment of veterans of World War II. Legion Colors were dedicated on October 8, 1944 at an impressive ceremony in the front of the Heroes’ Memorial High School at which Provincial President, Hugh Perry, and his First V. P., J. G. Gonthier, were in attendance. One of the important tasks, now being carried on by the veterans, is the education of the public at large concerning their obligations to ex-serviceman. Other projects include rehabilitation and relief and personnel counselling, the latter being carried on with the complete co-operation of the Veterans’ Welfare Bureau in charge of Eli Boisvert.
Plans for the erection of a Legion Memorial Hall after the war are presently under consideration, and will include a cenotaph built in a section of the hall, for various veteran and community affairs. This structure will be built as a living memorial to the Cowansville boys and girls now serving on Active Service. The Heroes’ Memorial High School was erected as a memorial of those who fell during the last Great War. Legion officers elected for 1945 include: President, F. J. Knight; First Vice-President, A. G. Scott; 2nd Vice-President, R. Brault; Sergeant-at-Arms, H. Pugh.
The Montreal Gazette, July 6, 1946 COWANSVILLE HALL SOUGHT BY COWANSVILLE LEGION Special to the Gazette Cowansville, July 4 – The Canadian Legion, Cowansville branch, will ignaugurate Monday at 8.30 p.m., a drive to erect a fitting Cowansville Veteran’s Memorial Hall building in this city. Members of the Cowansville Branch, No. 99, of the legion are seeking premises containing necessary rooms for meetings and recreation. The site for the building has been given by Miss Nina M. Nesbitt, of Cowansville, and plans for the building have been provisionally approved. On the evening of the inauguration the speakers will be His Worship Mayor E.A. Boisvert, Maj. Gen. C.B. Price, D.S.O., D.C.M., E.D., president of the Canadian Legion, and Capt. Henry Gonthier, past provincial president. Veterans will then parade through the streets of Cowansville and a street dance will follow. The board of trustees is composed of Mayor Eugene Boisvert, L.L. Bruck, H.F. Vilas, A.G. Scott, D.J. Barker. Co-chairmen of the Cowansville Legion Memorial Hall Building Fund are, R.L. Brault and J.H. Wood, M.B.E., E.D. The president of the local legion is F.J. Knight.