(Above) Geoffrey Linklater stands by the sign used to share messages of hope with his community

When COVID-19 first put Ottawa residents in lockdown in March 2020, Laurie Hamilton-Linklater and her husband, Geoffrey Linklater, Salvationists at Ottawa Citadel, built a two-sided lawn sign to post encouraging messages for their community. They also put up inflatable Christmas characters, a bear and a reindeer, to bring cheer. Cars slowed down to have a look, joggers stopped, and parents and children gathered around to enjoy the display. After an overwhelmingly positive response, the couple is continuing their lawn ministry and are showing no signs of stopping.

After the tragedy in Nova Scotia where a gunman claimed many lives in April 2020, the sign asked the community to pray for Nova Scotians. And last Easter, when churches were closed due to the pandemic, they built a large wooden cross with a purple shroud for Good Friday and a white one for Easter Sunday.

With the national call to support front-line workers, every Sunday, the Linklaters, with members of the Ottawa Citadel Band joining occasionally, played O Canada and hymns on their porch each week on piano and cornet while flying a large Canadian flag in the background. For Remembrance Day in November, they created a large display with poppies, a cross and other commemorative markers for the occasion. The band played a short program of music, and readings of remembrance were shared with the community.

While the messages on the signs vary from humorous, to celebratory, to those of condolence, uplifting the community is at the heart of them all. “Throughout these past months we have been blessed to share hope and optimism with those around us,” says Hamilton-Linklater. “This pandemic has brought our community closer together. It’s what we as Christians should be doing at every opportunity and not just during challenging times.”


On Saturday, January 27, 2024, Christopher Dicks said:

Geoff !!! You defy Gravity ! YOu defy Levity You defy (mortality)

I am SO happy to learn, on this day, even though (we kinda knew) that you and Miss Hamilton were a "thing." !!

What I am more happy to learn is that you, my inspiration, my mentor, my challenge, and and my groove,

are still with us !!!

Not still flipping houses I hope, at YOUR age.

But you have given my life TRUE CENTER and tru meaning through your ministry of music.

I love you Link. Chris Dicks.

On Saturday, December 26, 2020, Jack & Betty Morris said:

Excellent display by our nephew and wife!


On Thursday, December 24, 2020, Jeff Arkell said:

As their corps officers Captain Graciela and I are so proud of our bandmaster and songster leader. Geoff and Laurie continue to inspire their neighbours and are an inspiration to us and the corps.


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