Members of the South Korean Embassy will play a role in Remembrance Day in Merrickville this month as part of their effort to get to know more small towns in Canada. The Embassy contacted the Merrickville and District Chamber of Commerce in October, expressing interest in paying a visit to the Village. The South Korean Embassy picks one small town in Canada every year to visit, and this year the honour has fallen to Merrickville.
After correspondence with Chamber of Commerce President, Karl Feige, and the Legion, it was decided that representatives from the Embassy will be marching in the parade and laying a wreath at the cenotaph on November 11. President of the Legion, Lee Horning, says this is the first time there will be a representative from another country at the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Merrickville. The main representative from the Embassy will be Jang Hoi Kim Lee, who is the Consul General of South Korea. “There is a Korean War plaque at the Cenotaph and we lay a wreath for it every year,” he says. “I think it will be very good.”
After the parade and wreath-laying, everyone will be invited back to the Legion for a potluck lunch and speeches. MP Gord Brown and MPP Steve Clark will be stopping by at 1 pm to show their support.
Remembrance Day is not the only occasion when members from the South Korean Embassy will be in Merrickville. November 16 will be Korea Day in Merrickville-Wolford, with South Korean representatives making presentations and visiting with members of the business community. The Embassy will be making two presentations to the youth in Merrickville about South Korea, one to the elementary schools (Merrickville Public School and Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys) and another to Fulford Preparatory College. Karl Feige has asked that the Municipality sponsor a lunch for the dignitaries and local business owners and, in the evening, he hopes to organize a reception, complete with traditional Korean food and drink.
“It is a bit of an honour to be chosen by them,” Karl says. “It’s important for us, because we are in the tourism industry, and what they take away from their visit is going to be logged and shared.”
The promise of the South Korean visit has prompted all sorts of Korean connections to pop out of the woodwork. Karl says Fulford Preparatory College has at least one student a year from South Korea, and some teachers also have a Korean connection. Many people don’t know this, but Canada has a free trade agreement with South Korea that took effect on January 1, 2015. Vichos Honey, which has been a hot topic in this paper recently, exports their honey to South Korea and has undoubtedly benefitted from this agreement, which was estimated to increase Canadian exports to South Korea by 32% and boost Canada’s economy by $1.7 billion.
Welcoming a South Korean presence in Merrickville-Wolford is yet another opportunity for the community to play a role on the world stage. Karl says that, with European leisure boating company Le Boat coming to the area in the spring, any exposure that the Municipality can have in countries around the world will bode well for increasing tourism and make Merrrickville-Wolford an even more popular destination.