Welcome Address by Mr. O. Hallson before the banquet meeting
of the Inter-Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Regional Conference, Memorial
Community Centre, Eriksdale, Manitoba, May 3rd, 1956 ....................
"Mr. Chairman, Honourable Minister, Members of the
Chamber of Commerce and Friends:
"It is indeed a pleasure to address you as our guests
and to assure you that the Eriksdale Chamber of Commerce is proud and happy in
being able to receive you.
"You have been wonderful guests! And the work carried on in the Hall today
was excellent, inspiring and a true spirit of patriotism shone through it
all. For here is an organization that
is not based on politics or on special benefits for any special group, but
rather the benefit of all the Canadian people.
"Sometimes you wonder when you see at gatherings old
hulks -- elderly people -- whose days of adventure are over, and you wonder --
you think to yourself, "What have they got to be so happy about -- what is
done is done and they'll be dead soon."
And you may feel in your heart that you are a little bit sorry for them. Well, don't waste any of your sympathy on
them. They are the happiest people alive
because they are all rich -- rich in experience -- and they all have a treasure
in their memories. I tell you that it
is a wonderful compensation - being old - for you have so many beautiful things
to remember. And isn't it wonderful to
think that we never lose anything that we loved. All locked up in your
heart! It's yours forever. Forgotten are the defeats but you remember
the victories. You have forgotten the
people that you happened to know who were kind of mean and miserable and hard
to get along with - you have forgotten them - but you remember all the lovely
inspiring people who encourage you on the road through life and to greater
"Oh - some of you young people - you missed a lot you
know when you didn't get into this country fifty years ago! Of course, a lot of things that we treasured
then are just junk now - out of date, no use any more - just like the old
folks. But yet do we throw away the old
things? No, we don't! We put them in museums - we build costly
buildings for them. We spend a lot of
money in taking care of them and we show them with pride to generation after
generation of people. True these things
are out of date and a long time past
their usefulness, but we get a cursory amount of lift out of thinking how the
people who lived in those by-gone days were able to put up with those
things. We have things that are so
much better and so much more perfect. Just take a look at an old "Model
T". It was noisy - just as noisy
as any of us when we were young and had a lot to say. But do we think any less of it for that? No - we find an honoured place for that old
"Model T" in our museums.
Those are the links with the past. And the old people of every
generation are the links between that which is past and that which is to
come. Yes - and that link is valuable
after all. For the people who came in
here 40 or 50 years ago - you'll never see the likes of them again for they
were pioneers - brought up under totally different conditions.
And, being that this is a Board of Trade meeting today, my
mind goes back to the first little Board of Trade we had in Eriksdale in1912,
and we were forced to form that from necessity. We had no road - there wasn't a piece of road anywhere in the
country and this - which is our first street - was a bog and we clubbed
together and we raised $250.00 and made the first grade that was ever built in
"And we didn't have any adequate water supply so we got
together again and we had a well drilled up in the corner here by the
hotel. So we assured ourselves of clean
"And so it was.
We were just a Board of Trade.
We had heard that name somewhere and it sounded good to us and we called
ourselves a Board of Trade, but we weren't affiliated until years later. And it was a happy day for us when this
Board in Eriksdale was affiliated with the Associated Board of Trade of
Manitoba, of Canada generally.
"And my mind goes back to our first picnic, that we had
in 1912. And what a polyglot group we
were. Greetings were exchanged in 25
different languages that day, for people were here from every country in
Europe, and the United States. And
there were no Canadians there! Oh no -
they were all something else. True, we
had some people among us who were British born - born in Canada of British
stock - they were British but they weren't Canadian. And what a joyful day it was when we lived to see the day when we
could proudly call ourselves Canadians.
many years ago since we were legally made a nation? Is it 6 or 7 years ago? Something like that! And it was a happy day! And these people that came in here they had
some of those qualities which Mr. McMullen so beautifully described today. The pioneers! And he said that a characteristic of the pioneers was "Self
Reliance" - oh yes and another one - "Courage". Yes - and "Self-Confidence." And I add "Faith". They had faith in themselves and faith in
the future of this country and they had faith in God.
"Mr. McMullen mentioned that it was necessary to
"believe in yourself". And I
know that is a healthy belief and very necessary. And he added our wish that "the others may then believe in
you too." Now they don't always do
that. But it's a cinch that if you
don't believe in yourself - you know yourself best - then nobody else
will. So make a start - believe in
yourself and perhaps you may be proven to be right. One thing is certain, if you don't believe in yourself, nobody else
"And so this country started out with high courage,
with confidence and with faith. People
from many lands - people who are now become one - the Canadian nation. And this nation, we have reason to be proud
of, for the whole world has a share in the creation of that nation. Our nation has drawn from the best that is
to be found among the civilized nations of this world. Its all ours for nothing. For we have those people living next door to
us every day of our lives from the time we are children going to school to the
time we die.
"And isn't it a wonderful thing to think of it, that
Canada - the Canadian people - are already showing it to the world? Is there any group of people more respected
in the United Nations than the Canadian delegation? I don't think there is.
For they have an understanding of people and their problems far
surpassing any other group. Even our
big brother to the south - and our mother country to the east - we have become
the interpreters, the conciliators, the bringers-of-good-will between those two
large groups. And we look in friendship
and appreciation to the whole world.
"It has been proven by experience that the many
different people of this world can live and work together in harmony as
Canadians - and we did ourselves and they are all here today. And isn't it a glorious thing for us to look
forward to: "a bigger and better Canada - fired with the idea of
Brotherhood - working together for the common good of man."
"And seeing and knowing this - can you understand now
how us oldsters are happy? We have seen
this thing come to life. We have seen a
new nation being created. Land brought
under subjection as it was from the hands of The Maker in the first place. We've seen all these things come to pass and
we can say with the old man, "Now lettest thou Thy servant depart in
"Never feel sorry for the old people for they are
rich. Let me just finish and say:
"This has been a happy day for all of us.
May we have many more like it."
For this Inter-Lake country - we must cement that together where we all
work for our common solution of our common problems, never letting our own
problems blind us though to the good of all the people in Manitoba and of the
people in Canada.
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"Many more meetings may be held and may the blessing of
God be on them, as I felt sure it was on this meeting of ours in the hall
today, and on those sitting around this table here tonight. Thank you."