New Community Playground dedicated to SD&G Highlanders

On September 24, the South Dundas Community Playground will be built by volunteers.

On the same day, a very special memorial will also be unveiled at the site.

At the entrance to the playground, the South Dundas Community Playground Committee will place a commemorative plaque, dedicating this new park to the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Highlanders, the “Glens.”

The plaque, donated by Prescott Memorials, reads: May our youth strive to protect our freedoms using the example of past generations whose traditions are carried on today by the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Highlanders to whom this playground is dedicated this 24th day of September 2011.

Matt McCooeye, chair of the Playground committee, said that members had been looking for a group of people or  local person to whom to dedicate the new park.

“Our criteria was we wanted that group or person to possess characteristics that we would want our kids to possess.”

At least two individuals, not on the committee, suggested the Glens to them.

“Rosemary Laurin and I decided to learn more,” McCooeye said. “About four weeks ago we contacted the Cornwall Armory and did some reading. We were also told to get in touch with Bill Shearing. I’ve lived in this community all my life and I found I didn’t know enough about the Highlanders and the sacrifices they made for us. Our playground is located on the very ground the Glens protected 200 years ago.”

As the committee linked the idea of protecting Canada’s freedoms to the children of today, the dedication to the Highlanders seemed the “perfect match.”

On September 6, the committee officially adopted the dedication to the Glens.

Bill Shearing, former honourary colonel of the SD&G Highlanders, said that he may have been the last to know about the committee’s plans, but “I think it’s great.”

He was able to share stories about many local people who have served in, or been involved with, the Highlanders through both Wars, and going right back to 1812. Many young men and women from the South Dundas community currently serve in the forces.

“We want to remember the people of the past, and look to those who will serve in the future,” McCooeye said. “No other group or person really fit the philosophy and outlook of our community like the SD&G Highlanders.”

McCooeye reported that 175 volunteers have officially signed up to help September 24 and he expects more may just “show up.”

“We have surpassed $115,000 in our fund raising,” McCooeye said. “The not-for-profit group Let Them Be Kids has matched us in purchasing power for everything in the park. They have also provided us with a blue print for making Saturday’s construction run smoothly.”

The official Playground opening ceremony will take place at the park at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Attending will be Bob Brooks, honourary lieutenant-colonel of the SD&G Highlanders and former and current members of the militia.

“Our opening and dedication ceremony is to thank the community for an incredible amount of support over these last three months,” Matt McCooeye said. “We will especially thank certain key people at our ceremony.

However, there will be no traditional ribbon cutting. Instead, all the kids of our community will ‘run through’ the ribbons opening their park. After all, children raised $6,500 themselves for the park and selected the play structures.”

McCooeye invites everyone to link up to on Saturday, September 24, beginning at 8 a.m. to follow the construction and opening of the South Dundas Community Playground live all day long.

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