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Greenspace area name to honour respected Unity veteran

A fitting tribute will be part of downtown Unity in the near future as the Silas (Si) Campbell Rest Area is developed.

UNITY —A proposal by the Unity Legion to name green space in downtown Unity in honour of Silas Campbell has met with approval from the town.

Campbell is a longtime resident and faithful contributor to the town’s welfare through many decades and the Legion proposal calls for the naming of a rest area to be developed east of Unity’s Downtown Medical Clinic to honour him.

The Legion noted, “Campbell moved to Unity when the CNR closed its station in Winter. Long before, Si had been contributing to many civic projects. He served on town council. In the '60s he helped develop the Scouts Canada Facilities at Atton’s Lake. In the early '90s, Si and other Legion members worked long and hard to bring the Legion’s Dominion (nation-wide) Curling Championship to our rink, which offered a significant economic boost to the community.”

A skillful draftsman and woodworker, Campbell designed (and sometimes constructed and erected) a number of signs about town including those at Unity United Church Christian Education Building and front lawn, Robertson Manor and St. John’s Anglican Church.

An avid golfer to this day, Campbell has been an enthusiastic promoter of the Unity Golf Club, where he served as caretaker for several years.

His Second World War service in the Royal Canadian Air Force included serving as a tail gunner on a Lancaster, four-engine, bomber, completing 36 flights over Nazi-occupied Europe. For his efficiency and steadiness under enemy fire, Campbell was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, a high award for gallantry and courage.

His craftsmanship had Campbell designing, supervising and laboring on three extensions to the Legion Hall on Main Street that included the front entrance, upstairs bathrooms and upper meeting hall.

Through decades, for every veteran buried at Pleasantview Cemetery Field of Honour, Campbell and fellow Legion member, Vernon Burns, hand-crafted a wooden box in which the Canadian flag draped over the deceased’s casket as a respectful tribute.

For nearly eight decades, the admired, compassionate war hero has worked for public good. He has many friends of all generations and has the admiration and respect of the community.

Unity Legion proposal to town

The rest area the Legion wish to have named after Campbell, lies close to the original site of Unity’s former CN Station, where Campbell served as station master until retiring in 1986.

“A small, signed park at this spot would be a fitting tribute to this veteran’s national and civic contributions,” their proposal to the town states.

Suggested signage is "Silas (Si) Campbell Rest Area."

The Town of Unity responded making the Legion aware of the future plans regarding the green space at the south end of Main Street. The town plans to undertake an extensive rebuild of First Avenue West from Main Street to the west access road. Once this, along with the parking area in front of the town office building and boulevard bordering First Avenue is complete, the town plans to re-work the green space possibly adding a gazebo to encourage use of the area.

In their response, the mayor, on behalf of council states, “With the history of the space, formerly the site of the Legion Memorial and where Legionnaire Silas Campbell lived and worked throughout his career, the town of Unity finds it fitting to dedicate this site to Si. As a community, we all value the contributions made by our veterans for our freedom.”

While it may take some time to complete the work to upgrade this green space area, it is most decidedly going to have a fitting tribute made to Campbell for generations to come.