Special to the Journal Argus
This is a weekend of remembrance with the Royal Canadian Legion’s annual wreath-laying ceremony at the cenotaph on Sunday, Nov. 10 at noon and another service there Monday morning, Nov. 11, at 11 o’clock.
On Saturday, Nov. 9, at 12:30, a plaque will be unveiled in nearby Lind Park to commemorate John G. Lind and his contributions to St. Marys. The unveiling ceremony coincides well with Remembrance Day observations. Lind’s life spanned both world wars and, although he himself was not a combatant, through the industry he managed – St. Marys Cement – he provided a large degree of stability to this community during those turbulent times.
St. Marys Cement began operations in November 1912 and was barely established when World War I began in 1914. The following years were challenging for the cement industry as new projects focused on the war effort, not civilian construction. Labour shortage was also a problem; many of the plant’s workers enlisted. However, Lind’s enthusiasm for St. Marys Cement and his confident reports at annual general meetings in the early 1920s led to expansion and growth.
The plant also weathered the Great Depression of the 1930s. Then World War II was declared in September 1939, leading to six long years of tension and disruption. Again, many cement plant workers volunteered to serve, including J.G.’s son, John S. Lind, in line to succeed his father as plant manager. A graduate of Royal Military College and a member of the militia, John S. was named second in command of the Perth Regiment before going overseas. In Europe he served with great distinction and returned to Canada with the rank of brigadier.
John G., aged 72 in 1939, had to postpone retirement and again try to keep the plant running smoothly in spite of wartime complications. He must have been concerned for his family members serving overseas and understood the anxiety felt by many of his workers. In 1943, he suffered a stroke and, although he lived until 1947, he could no longer conduct day-to-day business. The plant struggled under an interim manager until John S. returned to take charge in 1945.
The plaque to be unveiled this Saturday acknowledges John G. Lind’s adventurous background as a prospector in the Klondike before he came to St. Marys. It emphasizes his strong support for his adopted hometown’s parks and recreational facilities. Everyone is welcome to attend. For information, call the St. Marys Museum, 519-284-3556.