Lois Memorial Road Trip Part 2

As mentioned in the blog post, we visited many Royal Canadian Legions on the Lois Memorial Road Trip.

Kelowna, B.C.

The first Legion was in Kelowna, where mom lived during the last couple decades of her life. When we arrived, it was only 3pm, but every table was full. Sitting at the bar, my daughter and I struck up a conversation with a fiesty old gentleman. Lesley lavished attention on him, giving his ego a boost. It was too early for live music or dancing, but the room was hopping. They had a meat draw and some other raffle going on. The ambience would have got my Mom’s toe tapping.

When we left there, we drove over to her old house. The contractor who bought the place did not tear it down like we expected he would. In fact, it looked the same five years later. It didn’t even have a fresh coat of paint. Those lovely but kitschy, painted, ceramic mushroons still sat on the front lawn.

Castlegar, B.C.

The visit to the campground turned into a surprising highlight. Mom did well to run that place for over twenty years, especially after Dad died. She worked hard to keep it up, and it must have been a struggle, but she loved running the business. Mom was a social being and always up for meeting and greeting new people.  

A couple of older, tatooed, gay guys, now own the campground. They have really fixed the place up. The trees have grown so high, every campsite has terrific shade and privacy. Not much has changed with the buildings and grounds, but the guys have spruced up the whole property. The little cabin beside the house, is an office now. If Dad had not passed away so young, he would have built the campground up like this. 

Sadly, we got to the Castlegar Legion when it first opened, so it was quieter than the one in Kelowna. 

Redcliff, Alta.

This is where we joined up with Lochlin, Deborah, and their dog Kingston. The town of Redcliff and it’s Legion had changed very little. The old house on 1st Ave and our old, old house near the glass factory are still standing after all these years. Lesley and I got out the bikes early one morning—a very nostalgic pedal around town for me.  

Elkwater Lake in Cypress Hills, Alta.

We piled into Loch and Deborah’s car and drove an hour to the lake. 

For many years, while I was growing up, Mom and Dad had a cabin at Elkwater. It had no running water or electricity, but we had fabulous parties. It was a meeting place for my parents’ many crazy friends. And a passel of children always filled the shack too, making it fun for us kids. We walked up a few sidestreets and eventually came upon a house that someone had built on the spot where our cabin once stood. 

Lochlin went for a dip in the lake.

Back to Redcliff, Alta.

We stopped off at the old water tower. I was surprised to see it still standing. Kingston did not know Lois, but seemed happy to be along for the fun. 

It thrilled Lesley and Lochlin to find their grandpa’s photo still hanging in the Redcliff Legion. It’s a pity we didn’t see anyone I recognised during our visit, but I moved away from town when I was just a teenager. Plus, we didn’t stay in that Legion for long.  

The next morning we visited the Redcliff cemetery. Dad’s grave is in the veterans’ Field of Honour with his friends. We laid flowers and cracked open that bottle of Crown Royal.

Before leaving southern Alberta, we hit one more Legion—this time in Medicine Hat. Mom worked there as a secretary for many years. 

Watrous, Saskatchewan

Mom, Dad, and I were all born in Watrous. We visited the cemetery and the graves of Fanny and Elmer Dagert, Mom’s parents. We also found the headstones of William and Robert Hislop – my dad’s dad who died in 1944, and his brother who died at the age of 9. 

Manitou Lake, Saskatchewan

This historic resort town is where we actually lived when I was born. The place was a going concern in the twenties, when people took their holidays closer to home. The lake is known as the Dead Sea of Canada, with water so salty it keeps you afloat. Lesley and I swam one night after the temperature had reached 35 degrees during the day. I stretched out in the cool water, flat on my back, still and tranquil, immersed in an earlier, simpler time.


We visited Danceland here, which is a historic dance hall built in the early 1900s and has been maintained beautifully. The dance floor is suspended with a cushion of horse hair, like the Commodore in downtown Vancouver.

Note: I produced the pictures in this article from photographs of the trip, with the help of a photoshopping Ap. 

Live well, everyone.



  1. Ann Birch

    Oh, what a lovely way of remembering the good times and renewing so many wonderful moments that you shared with your parents. I’m so happy that many of your childhood places are still standing, and that you and your family had a chance to visit the Legions where your parents were honoured. Every year, I too visit my parents’ graves in the churchyard where my mother’s great-great grandmother established St. George’s Church at Jackson’s Point, Ontario, in the mid 1800s. It’s necessary to remember these people who gave us so much love. Thank you, Laurel, for the lovely road trip story and the photos that accompany it!

  2. Lesley

    That was very thoughtful and touching. The trip was a wonderful homage to Lois. I think we all got something special and soul filling from this time spent together.

  3. Jill

    Thanks Laurel – I so enjoyed the read
    What a wonderful way to honour your mom
    Aunty Lois was a special lady and I miss her ❤️❤️

  4. Irvan B. Lucko

    What a great Tribute to your Mom. Her memories are definitely etched into your hearts, and this sparked up a few memories of your Mom in Las Vegas and my time at the Campground. Thank you for sharing; you are such a good Author.
    Thanks for sharing The Lois Memorial Road Trip with us.
    With Love and gratitude,

  5. Cathy

    Oh Laurel your writing is wonderful. I really felt a part of your trip. She was such a
    welcoming, loving woman. Miss them both so much. ❤️

  6. Joyce Mae Wright

    Enjoyed! Isn’t amazing as we, too get old how so many memories flash by? You were lucky that you & family could actually trace the many former memories with a road trip. I have done something similar but only in my mind. What a history we all have.
    Thanks again for sharing.

  7. Rick Bueckert

    Lovely story. Had I been notified, I certainly would have met you in Redcliff and at Watrous both of which are close to me. And would loved to have toured Redcliff with you.
    Do you remember the midnight trip we all took to Watruos and Manitou Beech when we were all young? After Gordie finished his afternoon shift at the Goodyear plant we all piled into your 57 Ford station wagon. The parents in the front two seats and us kids set up with sleeping bags cross ways in the back. And Skippy, of course
    who we couldnt believe had so much gas. Every time any of the parental units would fart, they blamed it on Skippy! 😂
    We swam and played golf at Grandma’s course.
    Somewhere, I know I have a picture of Mom and Lois sitting on a blanket at the cabin we stayed at.

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