Excerpt from a report by Penny Summers:
A trip to Moose Jaw this past June was the first opportunity for my husband, Neil, and I to attend a UELAC Annual Conference. We joined the Manitoba Branch late last year, and we were most interested in meeting UELAC members from across the nation and getting a broader sense of the scope of the organization.
The venue was a wonderful choice and we appreciated that the conference itinerary allowed us some down time to explore Moose Jaw or take in the mineral waters at the spa. We had a wonderful welcome from 15 Wing at CFB Moose Jaw, including greetings from the base commander, and a hangar visit to look at some of the aircraft and talk with the pilots. My personal favourite was a look at the Officer’s Mess, known as The Chateau Room, a reconstruction of a medieval inn using materials from a 1600s French Chateau. The room was originally pieced together in Marville, France as the Officers Mess for No. 1 Fighter Wing (RCAF). It was presented to the RCAF in 1967, disassembled piece by piece, and reassembled at CFB Moose Jaw in 1970. The massive timbers, carvings, stained glass windows and fireplace were a beautiful sight! The following day we enjoyed the presentations on the NWMP and Genealogy, followed by lunch, then a tour of the Western Development Museum and the Saskatchewan Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre. One cannot do justice to the museum in such a short time; it may require a return visit to see it all! And, oh, those cute wee owls! Although we had participated in one event wearing our period clothing prior to the conference, it was great fun to do so in such a large group. The church parade was a delight! I loved seeing people watching us as we walked by. Although I expected the AGM to be, well, boring, I was very impressed with the breadth and scope of the Associations efforts and organization. So many committees, as well as archives, websites, publications… I had no idea! The well-deserving recipients of the Dorchester Award and the Loyalist Scholarship were obviously selected with great care. The AGM brought it all together for me and I feel fortunate to be a part of such an enthusiastic and knowledgeable group who share the common goal of preserving and promoting our history. We were joined by Saskatchewan Lt. Gov. W. Thomas Molloy and Moose Jaw Mayor Fraser Tolmie at the Prairie Feast on Friday evening, and even had a surprise visit from Her Majesty herself! The Gala Banquet was followed by a presentation from Peter Johnson, UE.
We were then entertained by local band Desperate for Haggis (though perhaps they’d been away from Scotland for a wee bit too long, judging by the number of Irish tunes they performed! All kidding aside, they were terrific!). We most enjoyed the AGM as well as our meals together and fellowship in the hospitality suite with such a widely varied group of people. Neil likened it to a family reunion of people who have just met, and I wholeheartedly agreed! We can’t wait to go to the next “family reunion” in Ottawa! Loyally yours, Penny Summers
At our windup Sandy gave a report on the 2018 Dorchester Award Recipient. She kindly gave me a copy of her notes so that the report could be shared with those members who were unable to attend our windup.
For people who aren't aware, the Dorchester Award "exemplifies volunteer excellence and participation in and for the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada. It recognizes "the best in volunteerism".
This year it was awarded to David Hill Morrison. He is a descendant of Joseph Brandt, and represents the Indigenous [Mohawk] component of the Loyalists.
He has an interesting life story, which I won't go into...but he is from New York. He visited a UELAC display at the CNE and became interested and that's how it began...
He is a lifelong member of the Monarchist League and a proud dedicated member of UELAC. He still lives in New York and although his health is not very good he drove up to Moose Jaw on his own.
In his acceptance speech he said:
"The only thing American about me is my accent. This is where I belong. I think living in the States, especially now, is an affirmation of what Joseph Brandt believed in. I think getting us out of the States was fortuitous-and I say this from a personal stand point. Canada -- this is where I belong."
He closed by adding, in Mohawk, "I wish you all well on your journey, on your way of life-mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. And peace always."
Suzanne Davidson, President Calgary Branch UELAC, David Ellsworth, David Kanowakeron Hill Morrison, recipient of the 2018 Dorchester Award
Also at our windup, Vera Ash gave a glowing report of the wonderful atmosphere at the conference. She and Cathy traveled together and she said they were made to feel warmly welcome from the moment they arrived until they departed. She felt that the venue was wonderful and she said they had thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The Western hospitality was wonderful. Cathy also reported that the conference was a great time. Seeing old friends and making new ones was a delight and the food and entertainment were fantastic.
Cathy and Vera set up the remainder of the period clothing and sold $370. worth. Cathy is now retiring from that chair and Sandy will be taking over. Cathy also had 2019 calendars for sale, produced by Liz Adair. They featured nostalgic pictures of past conferences, important historical dates and monthly branch reminder dates. If anyone is interested, please contact Cathy.
The wind up to the conference was a worship service at St. Andrew's United Church. The following is the address given by our Dominion Past President, Barb Andrew:
Introduction to The Loyalists and UELAC
By Barb Andrew UE, Past President at UELAC Conference Church Service
Myself and the oddly dressed people with me this morning, who you have so graciously welcomed to worship with you today are folk who are dedicated to celebrating and keeping alive a particular part of our Canadian national heritage. We are the descendants of the United Empire Loyalists, people who lived in the Thirteen Colonies and who, during the American War of Independence between 1775 and 1783 when the colonies rebelled against Britain, remained loyal to the crown and fought on the British side. It was of course, the losing side, and during and after the war, many Loyalists left the new nation, the majority of them coming to the colonies Britain retained in North America, colonies that were later to become Canada.
At certain points those Loyalists were to play a decisive role in the direction of Canadian history. I'll mention just three today. First, the Loyalists brought with them the system of free hold land tenure, British laws and representative government. In 1791, British parliament passed the Canada Act which provided for the division of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada. Both colonies were granted an elected assembly and the free hold system of land tenure went into effect in Upper Canada... later to be known as Ontario. Those laws clearly show the influence of the Loyalists.
Secondly, the Loyalists and their children were instrumental in helping to repel American forces and put a halt to American expansionism during the War of 1812. Thirdly, and of particular interest here on the prairies, during the 1880's, many descendants of Loyalists participated in the agricultural settlement of the West in tandem with the building of the national railway, forestalling the Americans at another time when they were very much looking north in search of more territory.
Canada has now evolved into a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural nation, welcoming people from all over the world. But the fact that there is a Canada to come to may in some measure be attributed to the loyalties and efforts of those first refugees to this great land...the United Empire Loyalists.
The United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada was formed by an act of parliament on May 27, 1914. Today there are 28 Branches operating in communities across this great land and recently in keeping with the times…a virtual Branch has received a charter.
The mission of the Association is as follows: To preserve, promote and celebrate the history and traditions of the United Empire Loyalists. We will accomplish our Mission by:
Uniting, in a Canadian-based association, descendants of families who remained loyal to the British crown during the American Revolutionary War, as well as persons interested in the Loyalist era and early Canadian history.
Supporting the collection and cataloguing of documents, books, artefacts, memorabilia and genealogical data relating to the United Empire Loyalists.
Facilitating and publishing research related to the United Empire Loyalists in the form of historical and family research journals, books, newsletters and digital media.
Providing Loyalist education resource materials and encouraging research through scholarship support.
Assisting in the construction and preservation of Loyalist monuments and memorials in Canada.
Participating in projects and activities which honour and celebrate the legacy of the United Empire Loyalists.
Saskatchewan is home to a thriving Branch of the association and welcomes folks who think they may be descendants of Loyalists as well as anyone interested in early Canadian History to join with them.
Thank you for your attention and for welcoming us to your worship service this morning.