The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
Vimy Ridge Memorial Park
Saturday, November 10, 2018 – 10:30 a.m.
Defenders of Canada and Canadians, members and friends of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, we’ve come together today to pay tribute to one of Canada’s most storied regiments and the soldiers who have served in it.
We are gathered on Treaty One land, on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and the homeland of the Metis people.
Our precise location today is a park that bears the name of a battle that helped to shape our country – one of many places where the Royal Winnipeg Rifles earned their place in history.
Tomorrow Canadians will be united in remembrance of all who have paid the ultimate price serving our country – from the muddy fields of Flanders to the desert sands of Afghanistan.
Today, though, our focus is on 135 years of service by Western Canada’s oldest infantry regiment.
Today, we recall the volunteers who answered the call to establish an infantry regiment in a small but growing city, and those later generations who stepped forward in the First and Second World Wars and faced horrors unimaginable for the rest of us.
We recall as well the men and women who have served since those wars – members of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles who have trained for Canada’s defence, served in international peacekeeping and security missions, protected Canadians from floodwaters other disasters.
We often speak of the importance of keeping memory alive and of drawing inspiration from our roots.
With that in mind, I am proud to be here today as together we unveil a beautifully renovated and expanded memorial commemorating the legacy of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles in this city.
And when the snow melts, and the ground thaws in the spring, there will be six Manitoba-bred Regal Celebration Maple trees planted, encircling the new memorial directly in from of me, as part of the Lieutenant Governors Tree Project.
The genesis for this initiative stems from my belief that planting a tree is a meaningful way to recognize and honour outstanding Manitobans, while at the same time providing communities with a living legacy.
Each year for generations to come, these trees will draw nourishment from their roots to produce new and beautiful canopies of bright red leaves, just as Canadians continually refresh their commitment to remembrance of those who have served our nation.
Congratulations on 135 years of service to Canada. And thank you all for your commitment to this great country, strong and free.
Thank you. Merci. Meegwich.