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  • Writer's pictureCraig Baird

A New Elevator, Buying A Machine Gun And A Fire

Back in 1916, the First World War was raging and it was the biggest news of the day. Everything was being done by communities to aid the war effort.

One thing that the Vermilion Board of Trade did was to raise $1,000 for the 151st Battalion to buy a machine gun on Feb. 9, 1916. The money would be forwarded to the Canadian Expeditionary Force to help get the gun to the Canadians fighting in the trenches.

The Board of Trade also announced around the same time was announce that a new elevator was going to be built in the community. With more people moving into the area, more crops were being produced and that meant a need to store the grain when it came harvest time. The new elevator would do just that.

Speaking of agriculture, February 1916 saw 4,150 head of cattle shipped out since the beginning of the year. This amounted to about $250,000 for livestock producers in the community. The dairy products also yielded $50,000 for the district, $30,000 of which was distributed to the adjoining districts in the area of Vermilion.

It wasn’t all good news around this time. A fire destroyed the home of a Mr. Wilkins, who had his homestead north of town. Everything was lost in the fire. He was away and only his wife and baby were home. She and the baby were able to escape from the home without any injury. This wasn’t the only fire around this time. The home of Ben Lorrenson and Arthur Burton was also lost. In both cases, the fires were caused by overheated pipes.

Lt. Col. Arnott, the officer in command of the 151st Battalion was in the area to look at the new group of troops ready to be sent over to fight in the war. He was very pleased with the men he saw and congratulated Vermilion on the 90 men who had enlisted with the company. One person who joined was A. Brimacombe, a pioneer, postmaster and first mayor of Vermilion.

A carnival was held in the area and it attracted over 100 skaters at the beginning of February.

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Listen to his podcasts Canadian History Ehx, Canada’s Great War, From John to Justin, Pucks and Cups and Canada: A Yearly Journey on all podcast platforms.

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