For the first time since 2019, the Remembrance Day ceremony will be held in Stride Place in Portage la Prairie once again with a full complement of wreath-laying and parade.
President of the Portage Legion Branch 65 Bob Oldford says they're looking forward to seeing a great crowd.
"There is plenty of room for people to be there," says Oldford. "Over the two years of COVID, we had to do things outside, downtown, and small-scale, but it's nice to be able to get back and do things in Stride. We're suggesting that you are seated in the arena by 10:30 a.m. because the parade will take place at 10:45 coming onto the ground services with the silence at 11:00 o'clock sharp."
He explains the outside version was restricted by health regulations, only allowing 10 Legion members.
"But I do know that it's kind of hard to restrict the public when they want to come, so I would say there were probably scattered above 35 to 50," continues Oldford. "Last year, I would say we had a little more freedom in being able to be there as long as they're masked and that sort of thing, or stayed in their own little groups. The City and Highways Department agreed to close the parking lanes for us, and we would probably have had 100. Now the year before, in 2019 in Stride Place, there were at least 2,000. We're hoping that the numbers will be there again now that we're back in Stride Place."
The elements of the ceremony that were missed for two years include the laying of wreaths by the various different businesses in town.
"The last couple of years, the wreaths had to be put in place ahead of time, and we were only allowed to have so many wreaths out," adds Oldford. "For the last couple years, we haven't been able to have military or cadets involved in the parade."