NOTL le­gion marks 90th an­niver­sary

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Local - RICHARD HUT­TON

Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Branch 124 in Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake has plenty of rea­sons to cel­e­brate — 90 of them to be ex­act.

The le­gion turns 90 years old in 2018 and on Satur­day, will host a com­mu­nity celebration at its 410 King St. hall. The event will in­clude a bar­be­cue and live mu­sic by The Rock­ets fea­tur­ing Paul Wheeler.

“It’s open to ev­ery­one and it is free ad­mis­sion,” said branch pres­i­dent Al Howse. “It’s the same as what we do ev­ery year for Canada Day.”

The party is a cel­e­bra­tory start to a year that will fea­ture other ac­tiv­i­ties.

Plans are in the works to make some im­prove­ments to the land­scape in front of the build­ing as well as the gar­dens lo­cated near the memo­rial and a new flag­pole added so both the Cana­dian and le­gion flags can be raised.

Plans are also be­ing made to dig­i­tize boxes con­tain­ing 33 cas­sette tapes that are im­por­tant to the le­gion. The cas­settes are record­ings of in­ter­views with vet­er­ans who de­tailed their war­time ex­pe­ri­ences. The tapes were made at the time the le­gion was cel­e­brat­ing its 60th an­niver­sary, Howse said.

“Through our mem­o­ries project we are go­ing to build on our work to doc­u­ment the sto­ries and pic­tures of our lo­cal ser­vice men and women,” he said. “There are many brave men and women from this area en­listed, and have sto­ries and pic­tures to go with the ad­ven­tures.”

The plan is to make the sto­ries avail­able to the pub­lic.

The le­gion pub­lished a book of mem­o­ries in 1988 and plans are to up­date that as well.

This year marks 100 years since the armistice was signed to of­fi­cially bring an end to the First World War and 25 years since Cana­dian peace­keep­ing forces re­pelled Croa­t­ian fight­ers con­duct­ing an “eth­nic cleans­ing” of Ser­bian civil­ians.

What is now Branch 124 sprung from what was once the Ni­a­gara Vet­er­ans As­so­ci­a­tion, com­pris­ing vet­er­ans of the First World War. In 1928, that group ap­plied for a char­ter to the Cana­dian Le­gion of the Bri­tish ser­vice league and on May 18 of that year the Ni­a­garaon-the-Lake branch was cre­ated.

Since then, the le­gion has been lo­cated at sev­eral spots through­out town. It has been at its cur­rent hall at 410 King St. since 1967.

Mem­ber­ship at the le­gion re­mains “pretty steady” at 260 mem­bers, Howes said.

Weekly fish frys have also be­gun on Thurs­days from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. One-piece meals are $8.75 while two-piece meals are $11.75. The party on Satur­day runs noon to 9 p.m.

RICHARD HUT­TON METROLAND

Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Branch 124 pres­i­dent Al Howes sorts through boxes of cas­sette tapes that doc­u­ment the sto­ries of lo­cal vet­er­ans. As a part of its 90th an­niver­sary ac­tiv­i­ties, the le­gion wants to dig­i­tize the tapes and make them avail­able to the pub­lic.

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