Bob Chow, a Royal Canadian Legion member and a veteran, offers salute at the Dallas Square cenotaph at last year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies downtown after being accompanied up the steps by Nanaimo RCMP Const. Mark Smith. (News Bulletin file photo)

Bob Chow, a Royal Canadian Legion member and a veteran, offers salute at the Dallas Square cenotaph at last year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies downtown after being accompanied up the steps by Nanaimo RCMP Const. Mark Smith. (News Bulletin file photo)

Legion members in Nanaimo and Lantzville to gather Nov. 11

Members of the public aren’t encouraged to attend cenotaph ceremonies

After COVID-19 led to some Remembrance Day observations being cancelled or altered last year, Royal Canadian Legion members and veterans in Nanaimo will again be able to pay respects at in-person ceremonies.

Wendy Forth, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 256 Mount Benson, secretary-treasurer, said Remembrance Day events are a huge thing for the legion.

“Unless you’re part of a legion, I don’t think you really understand that this is our day of the whole year,” said Forth. “This is what everything we do is about, honouring our veterans and their families and what they’ve given and continue to give to the communities. When we have a chance to all be together and recognize each other and come together like this, it’s a huge thing for us.

“It was a great loss last year, not being able to do that and I have had five phone calls this morning already, asking about [this year].”

Branch 256, 1630 East Wellington Rd., Nanaimo

Branch 256 will open its doors at 8 a.m. on Nov. 11, offering breakfast from 8-9:30 a.m. Health and safety protocols will be followed.

At 10:45 a.m., the branch will show a live broadcast of the Dallas Square Park cenotaph ceremony from downtown Nanaimo and following that, it will hold its own wreath-laying ceremony with a piper playing.

From 1-3 p.m. lunch will be served, with the Mount Benson Ceili Band performing. From 3 till the branch closes at 8 p.m., Guy Bezeau and company will play at the lounge, with the kitchen open for food orders. The bar will be open from noon till 8 p.m.

Branch 10, 129 Harewood Rd., Nanaimo

From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., the branch will host members, veterans and others who participated in the parade and following that, the branch will be open to all.

Food will be served at 1 and 5:30 p.m. A DJ will play music from 1-6 p.m., with 8 p.m. closing time. Proof of vaccination will be required for entry.

Branch 257, 7227 Lantzville Rd., Lantzville

Branch 257 will host an event, but Frank Mezzatesta, Branch 257 Seawood Centennial president, said there is limited seating capacity of about 100 people and preference will be given to veterans and branch members. Other members of the public will be allowed in only if there is space. As with the other area legions, proof of vaccination and ID are required, he said.

Doors will open around 11:30 a.m. and close at approximately 9 p.m., said Mezzatesta. Dinner will be served from 4-6 p.m., with veterans eating for free.

“Some of these members have been members 30-40 years and they’re used to coming in on a Friday, or during the week, and socializing,” said Mezzatesta when asked about in-person activities on Remembrance Day. “With COVID … they miss comradeship and being together and talking about old times, or whatever the case may be. For their well-being it’s very important.”



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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Remembrance Day