Lindsay Legion puts welcome mat out for visitors
Many of us remember a hometown branch of the Royal Canadian Legion somewhere in the shadows of our past. Growing up, I knew it as the hall where people celebrated their family’s milestones with a dance. But, if you still think of the Legion as the members only club of yesterday, perhaps the time has come to take a closer look. The Lindsay Legion has been working behind the scenes in our community for years, providing donations to organizations such as Ross Memorial Hospital, Kawartha Lakes Food Source, and Five Counties Children’s Centre.
Still, countless members of the public pass up the chance to visit the Legion at their York Street North location to enjoy onsite museum exhibits or take part in an event. Elected officers like Howie Johnston and Bill Neville as well as legion volunteers want to see this change. They have put out the welcome mat for the community.
“The Legion is more than a place where people drink beer and we have to invite the public to come see us,” says long-time volunteer Claus Reuter. It’s an opinion echoed by other volunteers, members and elected officers, such as Howie Johnston.
Stepping through their front door takes visitors back to a time of old-fashioned hospitality. As the largest branch in Kawartha Lakes, the Lindsay Legion’s building has the space to enable dedicated volunteers to present one of the top military legion exhibits in Ontario — and admission is free.
Exhibits change two or three times each year, with past displays covering such topics as the 109th Battalion, D-Day, and the War of 1812. More than 450 local school children will no doubt recall being invited to interact with the Legion’s largest and most complex display so far, commemorating the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
No need to be shy about asking staff, volunteers and members questions about the artifacts at the Lindsay Legion. You never know when an impromptu chat will unlock a wealth of knowledge and personal stories to enrich your experience at the legion, or simply lead you to a new friend.
Artifacts in the collection come from several different sources, including other area legions who lack sufficient display space. The Lindsay branch welcomes donations from the public too, just contact their office for more information. Your ancestor’s war medals might find a new home in the legion’s display, or a family collection of military memorabilia may be incorporated into one of the rotating exhibits. In appreciation, the legion makes every effort to invite families in to view displays that include donated items.
Beyond physical artifacts, the legion values stories of military service as oral history and encourage the public to submit them for posting online.
According to member and website designer Dave Francis, “We are slowly posting our comprehensive selection of military records to the reference section of the website. We would be grateful for any suggestions from the public.”
Visit www.lindsaylegion.com for their hours of operation and details about upcoming projects and events, as pandemic restrictions allow. Add a visit to their military exhibits on your list of things to do this summer.