Armitage celebrates 95 at the Legion

CONSTANCE BAY – The original plan was to have a quiet affair at home, but when you’re Dr. Roly Armitage, whether you want it or not, your 95th birthday is a pretty big deal.

“Mickey (Roly’s son) wanted to have it,” Armitage told West Carleton Online today (Feb. 11) of the Sunday afternoon party. “So, I just showed up.”

Armitage is one of West Carleton’s most well-known people. He is a World War II veteran who stormed the beaches of Normandy; he is a published author with three books to his credit; he’s in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame; holds the Order of Ottawa; is a former West Carleton mayor; was a long-serving Ottawa Valley veterinarian; general manager of the Carp Airport; and quite a character to boot (and that’s just naming a few of his accomplishments).

It’s no surprise Armitage’s birthday is a big deal.

Coun. Eli El-Chantiry gives Roly the jacket right off his back at the WWII veteran's birthday party Sunday. Photo by Lynda Boland
Coun. Eli El-Chantiry gives Roly the jacket right off his back at the WWII veteran’s birthday party Sunday. Photo by Lynda Boland

“It went real good,” Armitage said of the birthday party hosted by the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 616, Sunday (Feb. 9) afternoon. “I was real happy.”

Armitage’s actual birthday was Feb. 8 which he celebrated with family at his farm in the Dunrobin Shores area. The party was also a bit of a fundraiser. Armitage had his books on sale and donated some of the proceeds back to the Legion. About 60 people showed up to celebrate the special day.

“I signed a whole bunch of books,” Armitage said.

Armitage just recently returned home from the hospital after suffering a ‘mild’ stroke a little over a month ago. West Carleton Online was at the birthday party but came early due to other commitments later in the day. While there we did have time to speak to Armitage’s son, Mick – a well known musician in his own right.

“He’s been doing very well,” Mick told West Carleton Online Feb. 9. “He’s getting home care and family help. His mind is as sharp as ever. His mobility is lessened a bit, but he’s getting around.”

The last time Armitage celebrated his birthday at the Legion was when he turned 90.

“He was adamant he wouldn’t have another one until he was 100,” Mick said.

Armitage says although he didn’t have much say in the party, he appreciates the sentiment.

“I get too much attention,” he said. “There are so many people that deserve attention and don’t get it. I certainly appreciate it. The party went well.”