Kelowna commemorates B.C. Dragoons Centennial
Celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the B.C. Dragoons Regiment will take place between Wednesday, May 11, and Monday, May 16.
More than 300 military officials and family members and an 18-member sister city delegation from Veendam, Holland, will take part in a number of events and tours of the community.
Mayor Sharon Shepherd and city councillors will take part in a special ceremony, the Freedom of the City, on Saturday, May 14, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
A re-proclamation of the Regiment’s Freedom followed by a Regimental parade and roll past will take place in front of City Hall. The Regiment was originally granted the Freedom of the City on Feb. 11, 1963.
The Freedom of the City is the highest honour a city can bestow on a Canadian Forces unit.
This custom goes back over three centuries granting the privilege to a specific military unit to march through the city with “drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed” and a regimental parade in front of City Hall.
The 15th Field Artillery Band, Royal Canadian Artillery and The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Marys) Pipes and Drums will provide music throughout the parade. Various historical vehicles as well as current military equipment will participate in the roll past.
To further commemorate the significance of the 100th anniversary, the B.C. Dragoons will present the city with a one-ton marble statue entitled Coming Home, created by Frances Keifer-Bezeau, a former Okanagan resident.
The statue will be located at the Kelowna International Airport arrivals area after the Centennial celebrations.
A Centennial mural has also been created and will be placed on the outside wall of the Okanagan Military Museum, in Memorial Arena.
A formal dedication will occur immediately following the Freedom of the City centennial exercise.
The weekend’s activities will officially end on Monday, May 16, with a formal recognition of the B.C. Dragoons Centennial and presentation to city council by the Veendam Sister City Association.