Local bagpiper heading to 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge

BARRY’S BAY – A local bagpiper will be heading to France to take part in the centennial anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. 

John, or Jaś as he likes to be called, Baklinski will be playing the bagpipes overseas to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the historic battle. It is part of the Vimy Foundation’s commemoration of the battle, which took place during the First World War and both paved the way to an allied victory and solidified Canada as an independent nation.

Baklinski was born at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in 1988 and grew up in Purdy. He was home-schooled from Kindergarten to Grade 12, and studied a course at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom in Barry’s Bay.

He then went to Carleton University, where he studied history and English literature. After some discernment, he decided to pursue his studies in police foundations at Everest College from 2012 to 2013.

It was not until this time that he was inspired to start learning the bagpipes.

“I have always wanted to play the bagpipes, even from a very young age, but as it is not an overly popular instrument, the options to learn it were not available,” Baklinski explained.

On Remembrance Day in 2012, Baklinski was attending Sunday mass at the church he was going to at the time in Ottawa. There, he met a young man who was playing Amazing Grace on his bagpipes after mass.

“It resonated very deeply with me and reawakened my desire to learn to play,” Baklinski said. “I talked to the lad and he informed me that he took lessons with Bethany Bisaillion who is the Pipe Major for The Sons of Scotland Pipe Band in Ottawa.”

Get your March 22, 2017 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full article.