Note from the editor: We wish to share this “thank you” letter with e-Veritas readers which was penned by H8788 Geoff Bennett, Le Bourgeois de la Chasse-Galerie.
Geoff contacted all those who supported him to thank them personally for their donations.
“Just over two weeks ago the Chasse-Galerie canoe arrived at RMC. The seventeen paddlers wore red shirts and old-fashioned ceintures fléchées. Eight of us proudly wore Old Brigade berets. And what a day! The sun shone and the wind blew hard in our faces. Sheila McLeod paddled with us in honour of Danny.
Our two pipers, Tom Lawson and Tom Norris, saluted the Commandant while they stood amidships in the rolling waves of Lake Ontario. After a rough crossing around the point we were met behind the Stone Frigate by the Commandant, who gave each of us commemorative coins, and by cadets of the Aboriginal Leadership program (ALOY), who welcomed us with drums, hugs and a smudge ceremony. At the Legacy Dinner that night the two cadets in the crew joined Ray Hook and me in giving speeches to a distinguished audience, after which Peter Holt led the room in a rousing verse of V’la l’bon vent!
We had paddled for seven days from Ottawa, travelling 202 km along the Rideau Canal. No portages, no pemmican – heralded by the playing of bagpipes, the canoe passed through 37 locks and the crew enjoyed the finest food and accommodation on the Rideau. But we endured a few hardships. Gentle headwinds did little to alleviate the heat. Cappuccinos were not served at every coffee break. And during lunch at the venerable Hotel Kenney at Jones Falls the crew had to forego lemon meringue pie in order to clear the Brass Point swing bridge on time. In line with established tradition, we resorted to songs and limericks to boost morale.
Ex-Cadets from many classes helped us along the way. I’d especially like to thank you for your loyal support and for your donation to our venture, the Danny McLeod Athletic Endowment Fund. Thanks to your generosity we surpassed our objective and raised over $165,000. The five canoe trips since 2000 have raised more than $425,000. Since the fund’s inauguration in 2005, $89,000 has been disbursed from the interest to support athletic programs at the two colleges.
It’s been a grand adventure and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these trips. My classmates and I have now hung up our paddles, possibly for the last time. However, if a younger generation should take up the challenge and continue the Chasse-Galerie legend – and if they offer suitable libations – I may be persuaded to advise them and even to come along.”
V’la l’bon vent!
H8788 Geoff Bennett
Le Bourgeois de la Chasse-Galerie