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Yellowknife hosts first NWT national Elks conference

Roland Gagnon first Grand exalted ruler from NWT

Chris Puglia
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 07/02) - Yellowknife was engulfed in a purple haze last week when a contingent from the Canadian Elks and Royal Purple clubs rolled into town.

NNSL Photo

Roland Gagnon Elks grand exalted ruler poses with Jo Sweeting, Royal Purple supreme honoured lady. The Elks and Royal Purple held their national conferences in Yellowknife this year. It was a first for the NWT. - photo courtesy of Alice S. Petten

The 90th Annual Elks Convention and the 88th annual Royal Purple Conference was held in Yellowknife last week and the event attracted 447 men and women for the two organizations.

Members came from as far north as Cambridge, as far east as St. John's, Nfld, as far west as Vancouver, B.C. and as far south as Vancouver, Washington.

Aside from some general housekeeping the groups also elected their national executive, which saw

Roland Gagnon, of Yellowknife elected to the top spot.

Gagnon is the first person from the NWT and Nunavut territories to be elected to the position of grand exalted ruler with the Elks Club.

Gagnon says the being elected to the position has been great so far and he is looking forward to fulfilling his duties.

As grand exalted ruler, Gagnon will get to travel to various lodges nationwide as chief executive representative.

Gagnon was Grand Leading Knight previously for the Elks club.

Six other positions were filled during the convention including a new grand leading knight, grand loyal knight, grand lecturing knight, grand squire, grand chaplain, grand inner guard and grand organist.

The Royal Purple conference also held elections and Yellowknife woman Bev Bourque was elected to the position of Supreme Loyal Lady.

The meetings were held at St. Patrick's School and Weledeh school.

Gagnon says the event was very successful and he heard a lot of good comments about the community.

"The only bad comment I heard was about the highway, I don't think I got one good comment about the highway," he said.

Jo Sweeting, supreme honoured royal lady, with the royal purple attended the conference from Saskatoon.

Overall she says she was impressed with the community.

"I think it's wonderful, everyone has been so friendly and so wonderful. I'd come back anytime," she says. "If I had the choice I'd consider coming up here to live."

Sweeting wasn't sure what to expect for Yellowknife and adds she was pleasantly surprised by the city.

"I'd recommend anyone come up here," she said.