Outlook Legion Sees Potential in Memorial Park

Idea gets thumbs-up from local officials, but plenty of variables and work ahead

Could there be a memorial park space that pays tribute to departed veterans located in the town of Outlook in the near future?

The local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion certainly sees the potential in one, and the Town of Outlook recently pledged its support to help the branch in its vision.

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John McPhail and Brian Benson of Outlook Branch #262 attended the November 27 meeting of Outlook’s town council and made a presentation about the possibility of moving the community’s assorted war memorials to a more visible part of town where they can be newly appreciated for hopefully generations to come.  Such memorials include the old arch monument that’s located at the site of the old swimming pool in the Outlook & District Regional Park, the cenotaph that sits in front of the Outlook town offices building, and the tall, black metal monuments and benches that are located just behind the Outlook Legion Hall.

Original discussions on the subject centered mainly around the removal and relocation of just the arch located in the park, but those talks opened up into the possibility of moving the other war monuments in Outlook to a new site where they would be grouped together in one attractive location.

The idea put forth by the Legion is for a Veterans Memorial Park area to be constructed in the greenspace area that’s located at the corner of McKenzie Street and Saskatchewan Avenue.  Such a park, as per the notes provided by McPhail to The Outlook, would feature the restored memorial arch at the entrance.  From there, a paved path would lead you to the relocated cenotaph that would be surrounded by the three black monuments that feature engraving, plus the four benches that are also located at the memorial behind the Legion Hall.

McPhail’s notes on the assorted memorials help highlight a portion of Outlook’s history from a Legion standpoint.

In 1919, the War Veterans of Outlook opened up a club room.  The formation of the Royal Canadian Legion would come in November 1925, and Branch #262 would open on February 8, 1946.  In January 1922, the War Veterans auctioned a chair to raise funds for the Outlook Regional Park, and they would donate $600 to the park, or approximately $8222 in today’s money.

There is a little bit of confusion as to when the memorial arch was placed in the park, but a photo of the swimming pool’s opening on July 21, 1922 shows the arch.

The cenotaph in front of the Outlook town offices building was placed there on November 21, 1968.

The newer Outlook war memorial was placed on the walking trail behind the Legion Hall on July 12, 2007.

At the council meeting on November 27, the Town seemed very much in favor of the idea of relocating the community’s war memorials and pledged its support in an official motion, and also assigned councillors Kyle McLeod and Kevin Grotheim to be liaisons for the project and work with Branch #262 on helping to bring it to fruition on behalf of the Town.

As exciting as such a prospect is to see something such as a Veterans Memorial Park become a reality in Outlook, by no means is it a done deal as there are still a large number of proverbial hoops to go through and all such plans are very much in the tentative stages right now.  The idea to go ahead will depend on issues such as sufficient funding, overall costs, obtaining Heritage Status, obtaining permission for and the feasibility of moving all the war monuments to begin with, the support of community groups and individual families, and likely a whole other list of various tasks before it comes to pass.

That being said, although there is undoubtedly plenty of hard work ahead and a timeline has not been established, one would have to believe that the community of Outlook and beyond would be 100% in support of such an innovative idea – a memorial park that would pay renewed tribute to veterans and honor the sacrifices made by many so that we can enjoy all the freedoms that we do today.

© The Outlook

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