Candlelight vigil


Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

This year’s candlelight vigil at Veterans Cemetery in Esquimalt will honour Canadian soldiers who served at Vimy Ridge 100 years ago.

Also known to locals as God’s Acre, the cemetery will host the event May 25 at 6:45 p.m.

The vigil is traditionally highlighted by the symbolic gesture of current and past-serving military members passing candles to the younger generation, including cadets, girl guides and scouts who then place the candles on gravestones in the cemetery.

This year’s event, which will also recognize Canada’s 150th anniversary, will see musical performances by the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and a bag piper from The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s).

Candlelight Vigil Chairperson, PO (Retired) Bob Haldane says the event is one of the most popular on Esquimalt resident’s social calendar, and typically attracts 1,000 or more people. Haldane, a former stoker and marine engineer who retired from the Royal Canadian Navy in 1979, says assistance from CFB Esquimalt, along with other community partners, has been key to the success and popularity of the event.

“Rear-Admirals and Base Commanders with the RCN have been marvelous to us over the years, and have done wonders to help boost the spectre of the event,” says Haldane, who has chaired the event for the past 11 years and been a vigil volunteer for over 20.

He said the RCN provides tents, chairs, a public address system, the services of the Naden Band and work parties to assist in event setup and teardown. The support of community partner Thrifty Foods grocery stores provides cake, hot dogs and refreshments.

The vigil receives financial support from Veterans Affairs Canada and is managed by the Township of Esquimalt.

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