“The Dominion Executive Council has directed that the convention call be issued to all commands, branches and sections of The Royal Canadian Legion to assemble their delegates in Ottawa, Ont., on June 21, 2008, for the 42nd dominion convention. This convention call is issued in accordance with Section 901 of the General By-laws.” —Dominion Secretary Duane Daly Prince Floris and Princess Aimée of the Netherlands are to be the guests of honour in Ottawa at the 42nd Royal Canadian Legion dominion convention, June 21 to 25.
The nation’s capital provides a fitting backdrop for the convention whose theme this year is Freedom and Democracy: Our Veterans’ Legacy.
About 1,500 delegates plus observers and guests will meet at the Ottawa Congress Centre, 55 Colonel By Drive, by the Rideau Canal and just a block east of Parliament Hill.
Prince Floris is the fourth son of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands who was born in Ottawa during World War II, where Princess Juliana and her family sought refuge after the Netherlands was occupied by Nazi Germany. The prince is a godchild of The Royal Canadian Legion and was the guest of honour at the Legion’s 38th dominion convention in Halifax in 2000.
Delegates are responsible for their own hotel reservations. About 1,000 rooms have been put on hold at Ottawa hotels, including Les Suites Hotel, Novotel Ottawa Hotel, Capital Hill Hotel & Suites, Lord Elgin Hotel, Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Minto Suite Hotel, Albert at Bay Suite Hotel, Best Western Victoria Park Suites, Days Inn Downtown and Quality Hotel. Delegates can also contact Tourism Ottawa for a list of hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts with rates and amenities (by phone: 800-363-4465; fax: 613-237-7339 or on the web at www.ottawatourism.ca). An information kit on Ottawa can be requested by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Convention registration is Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. and continues Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Monday from 8 to 10 a.m. The registration fee is $50; $15 for observers.
Events begin Sunday with a remembrance ceremony and the placing of wreaths followed by a parade. The opening ceremony is at 3:30 p.m. at the congress centre.
Local branches are organizing evening entertainment during the week.
Branches are allowed one accredited delegate for every 100, or fraction of 100, ordinary, life, associate and affiliate-voting members. Delegates must have their dues paid up to Dec. 31, 2008.
All resolutions must reach Dominion Command by March 2, 112 days prior to the opening of convention. Branches should ensure all resolutions are submitted prior to the deadline set by their provincial command. Late resolutions will be considered by the Dominion Executive Council prior to convention. Those late resolutions deemed urgent will be put forward to convention for consideration.
Ottawa International Airport is about 10 kilometres from downtown. Cab fare is about $30, depending on destination, and shuttle buses run half-hourly from
5 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Ottawa has a wide selection of sight-seeing and entertainment for conventioneers. There are more than a dozen national museums and galleries—many within walking distance of the congress centre. For theatre lovers, Ottawa’s Fringe Festival runs to June 29; the International Jazz Festival runs from June 20 to 29, and for those who want to stretch their stay, there’s no place in the country better than Ottawa to celebrate Canada Day.
There’s also plenty for the military buff, including:
- The Canadian War Museum, 1 Vimy Place, offers artifacts of Canada’s
military experience through the ages. More information can be found at www.warmuseum.ca.
- The National War Memorial in Confederation Square features a granite arch topped by bronze figures of Peace and Freedom. Advancing through are
22 bronze figures symbolizing the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who answered the call to serve. All branches of service engaged in the war are represented, in historically correct uniforms. (www.stemnet.nf.ca/monuments/on/
- Beechwood Cemetery, 280 Beechwood Ave., a National Historic Site established in 1873, is the final resting place of many famous Canadians, including Sir Robert Borden, Canada’s World War I prime minister; Tommy Douglas, father of medicare; Sir Sandford Fleming, who invented standard time zones and poet Archibald Lampman. It is also the home of The National Military Cemetery of the Canadian Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Memorial Cemetery. The 160-acre cemetery, with its walking trails, lush gardens and marsh are open to the public. (www.beechwoodcemetery.com)
- Canada Aviation Museum, 11 Aviation Parkway, features vintage aircraft, demonstrations and tours. The museum’s collection focuses on the development of the flying machine, in both peace and war, and follows the transformation of Canada’s aeronautical technology. (www.aviation.technomuses.ca)
- The Diefenbunker, outside of Carp, a 45-minute drive from downtown, is Canada’s Cold War Museum, originally built to protect the government in case of nuclear war. In addition to regular daily tours, a special tour of rarely seen areas of the bunker is scheduled for June 23. (www.diefenbunker.ca)
- Kingsmere, the summer home of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, who held the office for 22 years, including throughout World War II, is located in the heart of Gatineau Park, just across the river from Ottawa. Walking trails wind through the property, dotted with formal gardens and a collection of ruins. (www.ottawakiosk.com/ mackenzie_estate.html)
- It’s worth the two-hour drive to Kingston to visit Fort Henry, a 19th-
century fortification built to protect a naval dockyard and the entrance to
the Rideau Canal, which held a garrison of the British Army until 1870. Displays and artifacts from 19th century military life are livened by musical performances and military demonstrations by the
Fort Henry Guard, as well as guides
costumed appropriately for their jobs, demonstrating everyday life and work in a 19th century fort. (www.parks.on.ca/ fort/)
For more information please visit the convention website www.legion593.ca/ LAC. The e-mail address is lasecretary@ gmail.com