LISTOWEL, ON, July 17, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, joined Canadians of all ages this evening at the 158th Listowel Agricultural Fair, where he spoke at the opening ceremony. The event, which marks the 100th anniversary of the First World War as well as the 100th anniversary of the Listowel Agricultural Hall, was also attended by the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence. Formerly named the Armouries, the Listowel Agricultural Hall is where the Canadian Expeditionary Force received their basic military training before heading overseas during the First World War.
While in Listowel, Minister Fantino also joined MP Gary Schellenberger (Perth–Wellington) for a meeting with representatives of Veterans' organizations and other stakeholders, in an effort to gain their perspectives on key issues facing Canada's Veterans.
- During the year 1913-1914, many Canadian municipalities, Listowel among them, donated sites for drill halls as part of a large-scale armoury/drill hall program to better house militia units, especially those in rural areas.
- July 12, 2014, marked the 100th anniversary of the Listowel Armouries, now known as the Listowel Agricultural Hall.
- With a regular army of only 3,110 men and a fledgling navy, Canada was ill-prepared to enter a world conflict. Yet, from Halifax to Vancouver, thousands of young Canadians hastened to the recruiting offices. Within two months the First Contingent, Canadian Expeditionary Force, was on its way to England in the largest convoy ever to cross the Atlantic.
- Canadians contributed in many ways to our country's great efforts in the First World War. The struggle involved virtually the whole country and made enormous demands on Canadians, whether they were serving abroad, or remained on the home front to work in industry or farming to support the war effort.
"I congratulate your efforts to commemorate and honour your proud military heritage. Our government shares your dedication to remembering and recognizing the generations of men and women who have worn our nation's uniform, and those brave Canadians who continue to serve our great country."
The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs
"I am proud of the shared history the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces have with the people of Listowel, as we mark the 100th anniversary of the Listowel Agricultural Hall at the annual Agricultural Fair. This year's theme, '100 Years Armouries to Agriculture,' demonstrates the historical relationship between the Canadian Armed Forces and local communities in times in peace and war."
The Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Niagara Falls
"I am pleased Minister Fantino is meeting with Veterans in Perth–Wellington to better understand the issues facing our brave men and women. Hearing firsthand from Veterans will ensure our government continues to provide those who have served our country with the support they need."
Gary Schellenberger, Member of Parliament for Perth–Wellington
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Contacts: Barbara Mottram, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649; Media Relations: Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468