Packed house as Remembrance Day service returns to Prince Albert Armoury

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald The Colour Party marches on to begin the Remembrance Day service at the Prince Albert Armoury on Saturday.

The Remembrance Day service returned to the Prince Albert Armoury for the first time in four years on Saturday.

The day was even more special thanks the attendance of special guest Lieutenant Governor Russell Mirasty.

The service began with Mirasty’s entrance before the playing of Oh Canada by the Prince Albert Concert Band, followed by the playing of the Reveille, a moment of silence, the Last Post and the Act of Remembrance.

Marie Mathers, a longtime service organizer who is in her last year of working on the event, said having the service in the traditional location was special.

“It was really great that we were able to use it,” Mathers said. “It’s not finished, but it was usable. It was a nice way of leaving the barn, and good weather so you couldn’t ask for any better.”

Mathers said she was sad to leave the job, but understood that it was time and was ready to pass it on to the younger generation of volunteers.

“I have a ring binder full of information and I’ll put it up to date,” she explained. “I have some stuff from 2017 that I got to get and some of 2018. When they get that ring binder, they can go on.”

Mathers said that she is going to miss being around organizing the service.

“I’m gonna miss it, but I’ll be around to see what they’re doing,” she said. “I will give them a boost if they need some help, I will, but I’m going to wash my hands away.”

Mathers said she would miss working on Remembrance Day services after being involved in active administration for 15 years.

In 2020, the Legion held a Remembrance Day service for members only. Then in 2021 and 2022, the service moved outside to Memorial Square.

Mathers said many people didn’t want another outside service because it was too cold the last two years, so they were grateful to have it moved indoors.

Organizers new attendance at the Armoury would be high after seeing the lineup at the Remembrance Day Breakfast beforehand.

“It was good,” Mathers said. “When you have a Remembrance Day breakfast and it’s good, good attendance, you know the (service) attendance is going to be good.”

Mathers said it was special to have Mirasty in attendance. MP Randy Hoback and Prince Albert MPs Joe Hargrave and Alana Ross were also in attendance.

The Padres for the service were Major Ed Dean of the Salvation Army and Father Jim Kaptein. The bugler for the service was Derek Slater and the piper was Dave Monette of the Prince Albert Highland Pipes and Drums.

Grant Uraski MC’d the event and read the Act of Remembrance and the Honour Roll of veterans from Prince Albert and the area who have passed away in the year since the last Remembrance Day.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Lieutenant Governor Russell Mirasty laid the first wreath during the Remembrance Day service at the Prince Albert Armoury on Saturday.

Mirasty began the Laying of Wreaths as Representative of the Sovereign followed by the Memorial Cross Mother, represented by Lise Malenfant, the Federal Government represented by MP Randy Hoback, Provincial Government represented by MLAs Alana Ross and Joe Hargrave, Canadian Forces represented by Lieutenant Colonel Mike Gravel, followed by the Royal Canadian Legion, ANAVETs, RCMP, Federal Corrections, Provincial Corrections, City of Prince Albert represented by Mayor Greg Dionne, Prince Albert Police Service, Prince Albert Fire Department, Parkland Ambulance, RM of Prince Albert, RM of Buckland, Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, Royal Canadian Air Cadets and Army Cadets of Canada.

Afterwards, anyone who wanted to lay a wreath was allowed to do so. A few organizations also laid wreaths in advance.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Lieutenant Governor Russell Mirasty is led to his seat before the beginning of the Remembrance Day service at the Prince Albert Armoury on Saturday.

Kaptein gave the Remembrance Day address and Army Cadet Justin Theoret read In Flanders Fields. Other songs included in the service were Abide With Me and Onward Christian Soldiers.

Mathers said returning to the armoury was a great reminder of how important it was to honour Canada’s veterans.

“I missed it before, but I always looked at it as we were still meeting in a way,” she said. “Not as cozy, but we still had remembrance of our veterans.”

Following the traditional playing of God Save the King, Mirasty and his party departed and the Colour Party marched off.