A historic photo of Whalley Legion’s Remembrance Day ceremony from 1964. (Photo: Surrey Archives)

Final ceremony at ‘historic’ Whalley legion on Remembrance Day

Construction of Surrey’s $66M Legion Veterans Village on the property is set to begin next spring

With construction soon set to begin on the Legion Veterans Village at the Whalley Legion property, it will be the last year the Remembrance Day ceremony and parade will take place there.

“We would like to invite the public to help us commemorate and honour our fallen soldiers,” said Tony Moore, President of the Whalley Legion Branch 229.

The Surrey Fire Fighters Pipe and Drum band will be part of this year’s parade for the first time.

The Whalley Legion’s Junior Band will also participate, as will volunteers from the Surrey Crime Prevention Society and many other groups, with complimentary refreshments served at the Legion.

“We’ve been serving the community for the last 71 years and we are excited to look ahead to new beginnings and new services we will be offering to veterans and first responders with our new Legion Veterans Village,” Moore added.

homelessphoto

(A historic photo of Whalley Legion’s Remembrance Day ceremony from 1964. Photo: Surrey Archives)

Where will future ceremonies be held?

“We’ve talked about maybe using City Hall Plaza, or maybe Holland Park,” Moore replied. “Or put the cenotaph on a trailer and bring it to the corner of 108th (Avenue). But we’ll definitely have a parade.

“We’ll always hold one.”

The Whalley Legion was founded in 1947 when about 40 veterans gathered to start a local branch of the Canadian Legion in the Whalley area. One of the first organizations in Whalley’s Corner, next to the Ladies Community Guild, the originating members held their first meetings in local church basements and members’ garages.

In 1951, the first Remembrance Service was held on the grounds of the Grosvenor Road School, and a cenotaph built nearby. The existing location was built in 1960 after unprecedented growth in the area through fundraising, donated materials and labour.

See also: VIDEO: Surrey veteran recalls fight to have Remembrance Day recognized

Today, the Whalley Legion gives away nearly $100,000 a year from poppy sales and other initiatives.

“We give it all back to the community,” said Moore. “Kinsmen, schools, the hospital, our cadets, it’s a very valuable part of the City Centre of Surrey.”

The Whalley Legion is currently exploring several options for its temporary operating location, while the Veterans Village is under construction. Their Cadet activities will be supported in temporary locations during construction.

“We’re in negotiations,” said Moore, noting the legion has been considering a former Japanese restaurant in the area.

“We’re also looking to maybe have a trailer in there or something for the cadets,” he said, which are currently housed in a building also on the Legion’s property.

The Legion Veterans Village has passed fourth reading, with the City of Surrey approving the rezoning and subdivision plan at the Oct. 1 council meeting.

See also: Veterans Village project approved by Surrey council

homelessphoto

(Rendering of the planned Legion Veterans Village. Submitted photo)

The next steps are for the Lark Group, the developer of the LVV, to put a number of approvals in place with the city and the land titles office to complete and execute the subdivision plan.

Demolition of the existing Whalley Legion and ground-breaking is expected to commence in spring 2019, with completion slated for the winter of 2021-22.

The $66 million Legion Veterans Village was initiated by the Royal Canadian Legion BC/Yukon Command (BC/Yukon Command), the Whalley Legion Branch 229, and the Lark Group.

It will be Canada’s first Centre of Excellence for veterans and first responders that focuses on post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental health. It will also be an “Innovation Centre for Rehabilitation,” offering clinical rehabilitation services, research and the delivery of health care programs, services and trauma counseling for PTSD and mental health, which includes advanced evidence-based services and programming in health, science and engineering, including innovations in robotics, assistive devices and technologies for injured veterans and first responders.

See also: Iron Soldier fights to walk again as he leaves legacy in Surrey

Moore said the project will be a “real game-changer,” not only for veterans, but also for the wider Whalley community.

“We’ve got hundreds of veterans in the Lower Mainland,” said Moore. “We have lots of young veterans, Afghanistan and different services, so there’s a real need for this PTSD clinic.

“Would love to get Prince Harry to come and open it,” Moore added. “He knows about it.”

As for Whalley?

“It’s the oldest part of Surrey, a heritage area,” Moore said. “I think it’ll help get it back to its former glory. You’ve got Tien Sher over there, the Flamingo hotel, and I think in a few years down the road, we’ll be like Davies or Kitsilano. It’ll be the place to live.”

For more information on the Legion Veterans Village, visit legionveteransvillage.ca. Learn more about the legion at whalleylegion.org.

This year’s Remembrance Day ceremony in Whalley will take place on Sunday, Nov. 11 beginning at 10 p.m., at 13525 106th Ave.

Other ceremonies are planned at Veteran’s Square (17710 56A Ave. & 17671 56 Ave.), Crescent Legion (2643 128 St.), Newton Seniors Centre Park (13775 70 Ave.), Port Kells Community Hall (18918 88 Ave.), Surrey Centre Cemetery (16671 Old McLellan Rd.) and White Rock cenotaph (15322 Buena Vista Ave.).



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Amy on Twitter

Just Posted

Surrey Councillor Laurie Guerra resigns as AutismBC director amid SOGI controversy

AutismBC president Gary Robins says her resignation is effective Nov. 12

BC Ferries passengers wait to leave Vancouver Island after Remembrance Day

Traffic aboard BC Ferries slows after Remembrance Day long weekend

Surrey Mounties investigate drive-by shooting in Fleetwood

It happened Monday afternoon in the 8000-block of 153A Street. Police say no victim has been located.

18-year-old to hospital after shots fired in White Rock

Police investigating early-morning incident

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Canada Post no longer guarantees delivery times amid more rotating strikes

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers closed two major processing centres in Ontario and B.C.

McGill students vote overwhelmingly to change Redmen team nickname

Student union held a referendum after a campaign by Indigenous students

B.C. university Pride group replaces white supremacy posters

Around 50 people walked through downtown Victoria to share posters of love

B.C. to invest $492 million in affordable homes

72 new projects are part of a 10-year, $1.9-billion strategy

Around the BCHL: Surrey Eagles sliding and Cassidy Bowes flows

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

Pit bull cross, chihuahua owners must split costs for dogfight damage, judge rules

Eac side responsible for $577.43 towards injuries in Comox Valley incident

3 random words mark every spot on earth

Innovative mapping system assigns three word combinations to 57 trillion 3 metre squares

Most fatal overdose victims did not have recent police contact: Stats Canada

11 per cent of those who fatally overdosed in B.C. had four or more contacts with the police

Most Read