Aylmer celebrates its 175th anniversary with banquet and awards ceremony honouring the spirit of service
Aylmer celebrated its 175th anniversary with a banquet and awards ceremony at the Aydelu centre on Saturday, August 27. The event recognized distinctive contributions made to the betterment of Aylmer over the years by individuals, organizations and entire families. The evening was enriched by a musical performance from the Grande Rivière orchestra followed by singer and guitarist Marc Parent.
A total of 162 guests attended the event and 18 individuals, families and organizations were awarded plaques with Aylmer’s crest and commemorative coins marking the 175th anniversary. Particularly noteworthy was the large number of residents who dedicated many years of their lives to serving Aylmer and how that commitment to community service was often carried on by multiple generations.
Following the awards ceremony was a game of bingo using classic “corn kernel” markers to honour the Aydelu Centre’s long tradition of bringing people together for bingo nights. Items were also sold at auction to raise money for the Aylmer food bank, including a Senators hockey jersey signed by Thomas Chabot and detailed painting of the historical flags of Aylmer, Deschênes and Lucerne by a young artist from Aylmer.
Mayor of Gatineau France Bélisle was also present at the event, along with councillors for Aylmer and Lucerne, Steven Boivin and Gilles Chagnon. During the evening, Mayor Bélisle highlighted the importance of Aylmer for the city of Gatineau as a whole, how the municipality’s various sectors have strengthened one another over the 20 years since amalgamation. “We can see amalgamation in two ways: we can say that we have fallen backwards by becoming part of another city or we can say that we are so fortunate to have five sectors that, together, contribute to the richness of our new city,” she said. “I personally vote for the second option and I want to thank the community of Aylmer that has contributed so much to the beauty of Gatineau over the past 20 years.”
The event was organized in large part thanks to the tireless efforts of Michel Raymond, the founding chair of the Aylmer 175 committee, whose family has deep roots in the Aylmer community. Commenting on what motivated him to organize this event, Raymond highlighted his love for Aylmer and the spirit of community service he learned from his parents. “I’ve had Aylmer in my heart since I was born,” he said. “My parents volunteered a lot; they showed us how to be involved in our city. Aylmer is very important to me and I think an event like this to recognize the 175th anniversary was important. Aylmer could see who we are and, with many newcomers, it is important to know what Aylmer is about.”