remembrance day

Why Canadians Celebrates Remembrance Day

About Remembrance Day

Every year on November 11 at 11 a.m., a moment of silence is observed by Canadians. This minute-long silence is held to honour, remember and reflect on the more than 2,300,000 brave Canadian men and women who have served in wars, conflicts, and peace-making efforts, and continue to serve Canada to protect the nation. This year, Remembrance Day falls on a Friday. 

Although Remembrance Day first started in 1919 among the British Commonwealth states to commemorate the day the First World War ended, it is now celebrated by other non-Commonwealth countries as well, including the United States, France, Belgium and Poland. 

Today, Remembrance Day is celebrated by wearing a red poppy on the left side of the chest, near the heart. For more information on the history of Remembrance Day and how it is celebrated across Canada, check out this article.

Many people around the world choose to wear it as a symbol of remembrance for those who have lost their lives during World War One. Poppies hold a significant symbol, considering they grew on the tragic battlefields after World War One ended. In December 1915, a famous poem was created that talks more about poppies. This poem is known as “In Flanders Fields,” written by John McCrae. The poem is included in many Remembrance Day Ceremonies and is continued to be used to symbolize the sacrifices of those who fought and died during this war.

The national ceremony for Remembrance Day is held at the National War Memorial in the capital city of Canada, Ottawa. Every year, the Governor General of Canada presides over the ceremony. The ceremony is also attended by other Canadian figures like the Prime Minister, representatives of Veterans’ organizations, government officials, diplomatic representatives, dignitaries, Veterans, family members, and the general public. Because Remembrance Day is a national/statutory holiday, government offices and businesses are closed that day.

If you are not in Ottawa, you can check any national Canadian news network to watch the ceremony live. It will be broadcast live on Facebook as well. For those who are looking to attend in person, below are some locations in Vancouver and Toronto that will be holding ceremonies.

Vancouver

UBC’s Ceremony for Remembrance Day

  • The University of British Columbia will be hosting its Remembrance Day ceremony in the War Memorial Gym on November 11. This year, the ceremony will feature short readings, remarks from special guests, and musical performances by the UBC’s School of Music. Doors will open at 10:00 a.m. PST, and the ceremony will begin at 10:45 a.m PST. The general public is encouraged to attend this event. 

Location: 6081 University Blvd, Vancouver, B.C.

Remembrance Day at Richmond City Hall

  • The November 11, in-person Remembrance Day ceremony will begin at 10:40 a.m. at the cenotaph located on the east side of Richmond City Hall. Two minutes of silence will be observed at 11:00 a.m PST., followed by wreath laying. The R.C. Palmer Secondary School choir is likely to perform their rendition of the poem “In Flanders Field” this year.

Location: 6911 No. 3 Road, Richmond, B.C.

Remembrance Day at the Surrey Museum

  • Surrey’s main ceremony will take place at the Cloverdale Cenotaph near the Surrey Museum. It is set to run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PST, with a short ceremonial procession following afterwards along 176a Street. 

Location: 17710 56A Avenue, Surrey, B.C.

Toronto

City of Toronto’s Remembrance Day Ceremony

  • The City of Toronto will be hosting two Remembrance Day ceremonies. The first one will be held in person at the Old City Hall Cenotaph, and the ceremony is set to run from 10:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST. The other ceremony will be held at Fort York National Historic Site, with the ceremony set to run from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m EST.

Location (Old City Hall Cenotaph): 60 Queen St. W., Toronto, O.N.

Location: (Fort York National Historic Site): 100 Garrison Rd., Toronto, O.N. 

Service of Remembrance by UofT Alumni

  • At 10:20 a.m. EST, the memorial service at the University of Toronto’s Soldiers’ Tower will begin. This year’s ceremony is expected to be attended by alumni, students, faculty, staff members, people who died as a result of the two World Wars and other conflicts, as well as the general public. 

*Due to safety measures, a public reception will not be held after the Service of Remembrance this year. 

Location: 27 King’s College Cir, Toronto, O.N.

Scarborough War Memorial’s Ceremony

  • Scarborough, a city less than 30 minutes from Toronto, will be holding their ceremony at the Scarborough War Memorial from 10:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST. 

Location: 2190 Kingston Rd., Scarborough, O.N.

Sources: Vancouver and Lower Mainland Remembrance Day Events, UBC’s Ceremony for Remembrance Day, The National Remembrance Day Ceremony in Ottawa, UofT: Service of Remembrance, 10 Quick Facts on…Remembrance Day   

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