Albert Gosselin Park on Erickson Crescent unveiled to honour veteran

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald The four children of Albert Gosselin unveiled the monument at Albert E. Gosselin Park on Sunday afternoon.

The City of Prince Albert held the second park naming ceremony of the weekend on Sunday as they continue the final stage of a plan to name city parks after local veterans.

The park on Erickson Crescent in Carlton Park was the second to receive its new name. It will now be officially called Albert E. Gosselin Park after Albert Gosselin, a Prince Albert veteran and former member of the Legion and ANAVETs.

Gosselin’s daughter, Bev Erickson, said that the day was quite emotional for her.

“It was quite an honour for Dad’s name to be put forth,” Erickson said. “I know that they had a long list of people that they got to choose from. It came from the Legion and the Army and Navy (ANAVET) and just citizens in general. We’re very humbled to have a park named after our Dad.”

The area is starting to become a second home for Bev and her family. Erickson Crescent is named after Orville Erickson, the father of her husband, Doug Erickson.

“That’s kind of another full circle event,” Erickson said.

Erickson said the Gosselin family comes from the Spruce Home area while her mother was from the Paddockwood area. The strong local connection was a big reason so many of the family were in attendance.

Erickson gave credit to all of City Council, but especially Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick, for the work on the park names.

“Originally, I believe that most of these names were put forth for street names, but because there were so many to honour they decided to rename some of the parks that didn’t have names,” Erickson explained. “That’s how this came to be, and Dennis and other councillors were instrumental in doing that.”

Michael Oleksyn Family from around the Prince Albert area was in attendance for the unveiling of Albert Gosselin Park on Sunday afternoon.

Emcee and Ward 6 Coun. Blake Edwards led the short ceremony. Gosselin’s son Ray Gosselin gave a brief history of Gosselin’s life. When the family was invited to speak, Erickson spoke on their behalf.

Gosselin enlisted in 1942 during World War II and served in the Black Watch until he was honourably discharged. According to Gosselin, his father spent 18 months on the front lines and never fired a shot. Instead, Gosselin worked in demolitions and cleared minefields so troops could advance, based on previous experience in hard rock mining. Gosselin was injured when a motorcar struck a truck containing recently cleared explosives and his back never recovered. However, he chose to remain in the field instead of returning home.

When he did come back to Canada, Gosselin had the rank of Lance Corporal and a carpenter tradesman distinction. He was awarded the 1939-1945 Bronze Star, the Italy Star, the France and Germany Star, the Voluntary Service Medal and the King George IV Medal.

After returning to Prince Albert he was active in and served in executive positions for the ANAVETs and the Royal Canadian Legion.

Because the park is named after a veteran, there was both a Legion and ANAVET Colour Party in attendance.

Marie Mathers of the Prince Albert Legion did the prayer and concluded the ceremony with a reading of the Act of Remembrance.

Erickson appreciated the whole concept of naming parks after veterans and other significant people.

“I think it’s a wonderful way to remember people that were instrumental in the city and contribute to everything that Prince Albert was and is,” she said.

“My parents were married in 1946. They bought a little house on 19th Street East, and we lived there our entire lives. We never moved, so until they passed away in the 1990s, we were in that same house. They lived there for 40 years,” she added.

The park is going to become a spot for the family to meet each year beginning with the Sunday after the ceremony.

“We’re going to start trying to make this a yearly thing here at the park. In the past, we just went to a cousin’s house and that kind of thing, so this is something we’d like to start doing,” Erickson said.

After Gosselin’s four children unveiled the monument, Ogrodnick brought remarks on behalf of the city of Prince Albert. Edwards, Ogrodnick, and Coun. Dawn Kilmer placed a Legion memento by the new monument.

“I’d like to thank the city, the Legion and the Army and Navy for attending and being instrumental in doing all this,” Erickson said.