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Veterans’ organization holds dedication of a new civic monument

Event date: 9/21/2019 10:30 AM - 3:00 PM Export event

Event Location: Military Field

Veterans’ organization holds dedication of a new civic monument

Current River Park

#LSN_News  #LSN_Tbay  #LSN_ONNews
THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  September 2, 2019 ( LSN)  

The Lake Superior Scottish Regiment Senate announces the dedication of a memorial to the First World War’s “52nd (New Ontario) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force” being built in Military Field of Current River Park off North Cumberland Street. The dedication will be on Saturday 21 September and will be followed immediately by a picnic in the park.  Assisting the LSSR Senate in dedicating the new civic monument will be Mayor Bill Mauro and Lieutenant General Omer Lavoie.  

The dedication will begin at 10:30 AM with a parade from Gibson Street along North Cumberland Street to the site of the memorial.  The dedication will be followed at 11:00 o’clock with a wreath-laying ceremony involving elected officials including the Chiefs of Pays Plat First Nation and the Red Rock Indian Band; mayors, reeves or councillors from 10 regional municipalities; 10 veteran’s organizations and other supporters of this regional project. 

A picnic will follow immediately after the dedication is over at noon right at the site.  There will also be opportunities for personal or family acts of remembrance at the new memorial. 

Lieutenant-General Omer Lavoie, CMM, MSC, CD was raised in Marathon, Ontario and joined the CF in 1983 as a private soldier in the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment. Upon high school graduation, he transferred to the Regular Force and attended Royal Roads Military College from 1985-1989. Upon completion of infantry training, he was posted to The Royal Canadian Regiment. 

 He served as Battle Group Commander of the 1 RCR Battle Group from July 2006 to February 2007 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  MGen Lavoie has been awarded the Meritorious Service Cross for his role in leading 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group in Afghanistan and has been awarded the NATO Meritorious Service Medal for leading NATO's first offensive ground operation at the Battle Group level and defeating the enemy during Operation MEDUSA. 

In February 2019, Lavoie was promoted to Lieutenant General and appointed Deputy Commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command headquartered in Naples, Italy.   

Fundraising has almost achieved the $100,000 budget for the monument so the LSSR Senate has decided to proceed with the memorial anyway. In addition to the funds committed to this project by the members of the LSSR Senate, significant contributions to the development of this monument have already been made by: Parks and Open Spaces Division of the City of Thunder Bay; Veterans Affairs Canada; 7 Branches of the Royal Canadian Legion; Alumni Association of Lakehead University; Lakehead University; The Paterson Foundation; TransCanada Corporation and; the Thunder Bay Horticultural Society.  The LSSR Senate is looking for further support from other persons and organizations across Northwestern Ontario.          

   Approximately 6,000 citizens from Northwestern Ontario volunteered for service in World War One with the various branches of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and the Royal Canadian Navy.  The infantry battalion raised in the region was the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion.  The Battalion went overseas with about 1,000 officers and men.  During the War, they suffered so greatly and were reinforced so often that by the end of the War about 4,100 troops had passed through its ranks.  Of those volunteers,  743 still lie in “Flanders Fields”.              

The new civic monument will permanently acknowledge the sacrifices made during The Great War by all of the citizens from the Northwestern Ontario, army and navy, by erecting a memorial to the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force as an example of the sacrifice of just one unit in the hope that all citizens, now and in the future, appreciate the price paid back then for the Rights and Freedoms we enjoy today.  The monument has engraved in granite the names of the 743 officers and men of the Battalion that died overseas.     

  Charitable donations toward completing this monument's fundraising can be made in cash or cheque at the Royal Canadian Legion's Polish Branch 149 on Simpson Street 10 AM to 4 PM Monday to Friday, by mailing a cheque payable to the LSSR Charitable Fund to 176 South High Street, Thunder Bay P7B 3K6 or by using a credit card or PayPal to LSSR Charitable Fund at .

  Our budget for building this memorial to the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force is $100,000.  The 14 individual members of the Senate have personally contributed $25,000.  Veterans Affairs Canada is contributing $25,000. Eight Branches of the Royal Canadian Legion from Fort Frances to Nipigon, have donated $22,000.  Business and personal donations have come to about $20,000.  The Senate felt we are close enough to our budget so we have proceeded with the project anyway.  
Quote: “Remembering those who served before us, is very important to all members of the Canadian Armed Forces.  Thunder Bay and region has a long history of military and naval service and the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion from the First World War is a significant part of it.  Currently serving part-time Reservists from this community travel and see similar monuments in other communities, often not realizing we have our own heritage to commemorate.  This monument will be a physical manifestation linking us to our past, and a reminder that others have made the commitment to risk their lives for their fellow Canadians.” Lieutenant Colonel/lcol D.K. Ratz, CD, PhD Commanding Officer, Lake Superior Scottish Regiment Commandant d'unité, Lake Superior Scottish Régiment 

 Quote: “This memorial is important because it acts as a historical touchstone. It’s important to link the past to the present. We need to enable people to remember and respect the sacrifice of those who died, fought, or were affected by the Great War. This memorial 

​The parade, dedication and wreath laying ceremony will run from 10:30 AM to noon.  The picnic and opportunities for paying private respects at the memorial will run from noon to 3 o’clock.

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