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Aug. 9, 1969

Fine Old Military Tradition Apparent At Seaforth Armory Dinner 'Parade'


There's not really all that much can be done with old armories, with the possible exception of praying for another war.

As centers for social functions, they have all the grace and charm of Kartoum under attack and seige.

And that's how it was Friday night at the Seaforth Armory as the city's top ranking liberals paraded to offer all praise to Prime Minster Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and $50 per noggin to party funds.

Even hanging fruit from the antlers of the dry and dusty animal heads mounted on one wall failed to give them a whimsical disney-look. Not even the one with the cauliflower perched on his head.

But there was the noise and skirmish of the battle, and the odd wisp of smoke under the shaking wooden door as hippies outside burnt some garbage.

However, the city's finest threw up a thin blue line in front of the door, and that pretty much was that.

But fine old military tradition seemed to live on in the dinner.

According to the menu, and for $50 each, it featured such things as avocado stuffed with fresh shrimp, roast Long Island duckling with sherried-orange sauce, and the like. Also, Australian bingo.

But that was inside. Outside, there was a beat-up looking station wagon carrying Deverell-Barns stickers — serving hot dogs and a pruney-looking soft drink to the demonstrators.

A consesus seemed to be that those outside enjoyed the dinner much more than those inside.

Inside, the sat on folding chairs fairly tightly-packed . Each table had as a center-piece a balloon rising from it in various stages of deflation.

Prices at the bar were 75 cents for hard stuff, 25 cents for beer.

Hanging from the roof in an attempt to warm up the hallowed hall were screen arrangements on which shots of Trudeau and BC and Vancouver scenes were shown.

One favorite seemed to be the sign of a major oil company.

If the atmosphere wasn't warm, the temperature surely was.

The Prime Minster after a brush with the demonstrators outside, was brought in and propelled from table to table like an inspecting officer asking if there were "any complaints."


He shook hands and signed autographs. He seemed to be well in control of any burning enthusiasm.

The Prime Minster has attended several fund raising dinners in recent months, and they were not his favorite idea of a fund night. This one, with his doubling around the tables, will no doubt live long in his memory.

He wore a light summer-weight jacket — with the mark still on the collar where the flying banana peel clipped him outside — and dark slakes.

After table hopping and a little to eat, he delivered a 40 minute speech.

At least that part of the evening was thoughtful and interesting. Trudeau spoke from notes and not text and the crowd had that to be thankful for.

If he had been reading from text, it would have had all the punch of a detailed explanation of the history and firing mechanism of the lee enfield rifle.

After the dinner there was more handshaking.


A band played away, more and more less heartily. Trudeau passed up any opportunity of doing a nifty military two-step.

The party brass stood around telling themselves it was a great night. Well it probably was a financial success.
Estimators had ticked sales of 1100 which would have meant a $55,000 gross. They may have sold that many, but it looked as though there were only about 800 there.

At about 11:25 PM Trudeau who is bound for a helicopter ride to Garibaldi Mountain today before flying home later to Ottawa, decided it was time togo home.

He was taken out through the side door back to the bayshore and the few remaining protesters had nothing to to swear at.

The guests also appreciated this, as some of them had been jeered at and had pamphlets thrust into their cars as they slowed to go into the parking lot on their arrival.


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