The Orange Celebration of 1927
The Orange Lodges were once one of the most influential paternal organizations in the country. Prime ministers belonged to the organization, including several Fathers of Confederation. While its influence has decreased over the past few decades, in the mid-1920s it was still going strong.
This was evident in the fact that Vermilion, then only a few hundred people in size, saw its population balloon to 5,000 people when an Orange Celebration was held on July 12 in the community.
Orange Lodges from Lashburn, Saskatoon and throughout northern Alberta were making the trip.
Plans were in place for a massive parade that would run through Vermilion to the exhibition grounds. The Vermilion and the Wainwright bands, as well as bands from Edmonton, would be taking part in the parade as well. There would also be several prominent speakers at the event and special trains would carry visiting lodges and their friends over the CNR from the east and the west into the community.
Unfortunately, when the big day came it was a day of clouds and rain with few breaks of sun coming through. That didn’t seem to stop anyone from enjoying the day, or the massive parade that had been scheduled for everyone’s enjoyment. The parade was headed by “King William” and his white horse, while the bands followed behind.
After the parade, a special sports day was held and baseball games were played between the communities with Vermilion dominating on the diamond even though heavy downpours halted the games twice. Vermilion would win 8-3 during one game, and 2-0 in another.
The Laing sisters from Edmonton conducted Irish and Scottish dances for the crowds, and Reverend Cross gave an address outlining the aims and objectives of Orangeism before he had to abandon the rest of the program due to rain.
In the evening, a large dance was held to cap off a big day for the community.
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