Royal Canadian Legion convention set for St. John's in June
Members of the Royal Canadian Legion in St. John's are preparing to welcome thousands of delegates for a national conference in June.
The 46th Dominion Convention will be held in the city from June 11 to 14, but it wasn't always planned for St. John's.
"Winnipeg graciously stepped aside," Frank Sullivan, president of the legion in Newfoundland and Labrador, said on the CBC St. John's Morning Show.
"It was due to be held in Winnipeg, but because of the 100th anniversary of Beaumont-Hamel, they stepped aside until the next convention so Newfoundland and Labrador could host it on the anniversary of Beaumont-Hamel."
Sullivan said that June's convention will be significant to lead into the anniversary in July.
"This is the 99th year for the memorial service in St. John's for the battle of Beaumont-Hamel, and I think Newfoundland and Labrador should stop at 11 o'clock on July 1, and pause for a minute to reflect on what we owe these people," he said.
Biggest convention to date
Convention chair Berkley Lawrence said that up to 1,500 delegates from across Canada, plus their spouses, will be attending the convention to be held and the new St. John's Convention Centre.
Lawrence said the convention will be the biggest to date at the city's convention centre. Preparations have been underway for three years.
"I've got 14 chairmen working underneath me, with 14 different committees, with everything from transportation to registration, meeting at the airport, driving them back and forth around town," he said.
Most of the city's hotels are booked, said Lawrence, which looks to be a financial boon for the city.
It's going to be huge
Lawrence and Sullivan said much of the convention will be focused on reviewing legion business and making resolutions on initiatives like the annual poppy campaign and providing support for veterans.
A new national executive will also be elected at the convention, as is done every two years, which will include new Dominion President David Flannigan from Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
There will also be a parade as part of the event, with the public are welcome to attend.
"There'll be a parade on the June 12 from the War Memorial to the convention centre, with every province and territory participating in it," said Sullivan.
"It's going to be huge."
With files from the St. John's Morning Show