Base Administration Profile: Megan Ilott – Wardroom Mess manager

Megan Ilott

A/SLt Wen Guo
Base Administration

Mess Manager Megan Ilott has crushed thinking-outside-the-box this last year when COVID-19 forced the closing of most eateries and bars including the Wardroom and Gunroom.

The Wardroom on Signal Hill and the Gun Room in Work Point are the prime locations for military social functions, lunch and dinners, and a drink at the bar. The Wardroom is also the prime spot for hosting weddings and other private events. When the pandemic hit, Ilott and her staff had to pivot and find creative ways to keep the mess membership engaged.

Zoom has become a great resource where the Wardroom hosts cooking classes, virtual bingo, and virtual trivia night, among other things. 

A weekly take-out service was also started along with themed take-out for larger events such as New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day and of course the Mess’s take-out weepers. 

“We have had to think outside the box to keep our membership engaged, and to provide the much-needed morale boost during this unprecedented time. Members have been thrilled with what has been provided so far and look forward to upcoming events. But everyone looks forward to when we can start having in-house events again,” she says.

The Wardoom is like a hotel, with 137 rooms on six floors available for visiting military members to stay. With travel restricted, the rooms were quickly vacant making the Wardroom a prime place to house military members before they embarked on a deployment. To date, they have housed Canadian Armed Forces members and Royal Navy New Zealand members for over 13 months. This special quarantine housing has meant a huge jump in cleanliness. While Ilott is not responsible for this side of the Wardroom, she is part of the planning and discussions with Base Accommodation staff as it affects her staff and workplace. 

With the downtime, a few long-awaited renovations took place: the floors on the main floor and lower lounge were replaced, and the upper bar walls are undergoing a paint refresh.   

Ilott has been employed with Personnel Support Programs at the Wardroom since 2005.  She has held the job of Mess Manager since 2017 when the day-to-day operations were transferred from a military member to a Non-Public Fund civilian. Before assuming the full gamut of responsibility, she was the Wardroom’s event coordinator. That job really drew out her creative side, as she found ways to make each event unique and memorable. 

“I went to college in Calgary for hospitality. Then spent five years in Alberta developing my hospitably career between Calgary and Banff,” she says.

For the last four years, she has added leadership and management to her tool box. She oversees the work of an events coordinator, a mess clerk, and three bartenders.

“I have enjoyed the relationships I have been able to build with our membership and look back fondly at the many events held here at the Wardroom.”

When the pandemic is over and life returns to normal, Ilott and her team will ramp up Weepers, TGIF, weddings, and retirement functions.

But until then, expect more virtual creative events to keep the community close.


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