Annual ‘King Billy’ July 12th parade marks Canada 150, plus 500th anniversary of Protestant Reformation
King Billy has once again strode the streets of Carleton Place — albeit sidestepping Lake Avenue construction.
The annual July 12th parade, commemorating the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland in 1690, when the forces of the Protestant King William of Orange defeated the forces of the Catholic King James II in County Meath, was held in Carleton Place this past Wednesday, starting at the arena on Neelin Street.
Orange Lodges from across eastern Ontario, from as far away as Renfrew County and Morrisburg, joined in the march, which went from the arena to downtown’s Bridge Street, and back. The parade, in years past, has gone down Lake Avenue to get to the downtown core, but had to be diverted this year because of ongoing construction work on the road.
Traditionally, at Orange parades, an actor has portrayed the Dutch King William, who, it is said, rode atop a white charger horse. This year, however, organizers were unable to secure a horse — of any colour — for the evening, but young Royden Staye, 6, of Arnprior, was able to dress up as “King Billy,” and marched in the parade, wooden sword in hand.
There had been a worship service and wreath-laying earlier in the day, as well as a roast beef dinner. There was a dance after the parade in the arena’s upper hall.
The parade not only paid tribute to the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, it also marked the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Castle church on Halloween, 1517. This is marked by many as the beginning of the split within the Catholic Church that began the Protestant movement.
Founded in Ireland, the Orange Lodge, a fraternal Protestant organization, was established in Canada in 1830.
By Desmond Devoy, Carleton Place Almonte Canadian Gazette