Remembrance Day in Canada

remembrance-day-in-canada

Memorials Honouring Canada's Heroes Coast to Coast

Remembrance Day: A Time to Reflect and Remember

Remembrance Day in Canada is observed on November 11th each year to honour the sacrifices of the brave men and women who served in uniform, and who continue to serve in the Canadian Armed Forces during times of war, conflict, and peace. The date commemorates the armistice agreement that was reached on Monday, November 11th, 1918 between the Allies of World War I and Germany to cease hostilities on the Western Front and ultimately bring an end to the Great War. Originally known as Armistice Day, it later became known as Remembrance Day throughout the Commonwealth countries, and as Veterans Day in the United States of America.  Solemn ceremonies are held, wreaths are laid at the base of war memorials, and tributes like the Calgary's Field of Crosses are created across the country to honour Canada's heroes from coast to coast to coast.
Remembrance Day in Canada is observed every year on November 11th 'Lest We Forget.' Photo Credit: Sean Morton

Remembrance Day in Canada Commemorative Ceremonies 

On Remembrance Day, Canadians participate in commemorative ceremonies held in communities across the country. Specifically, at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month a minute's silence is observed and dedicated to the soldiers who fought and died protecting and serving Canada. Unsurprisingly, the most iconic events take place at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada, where government officials, military personnel, and the public join together to pay their respects. However, commemorative ceremonies are also held at war memorials in small communities, towns, and cities across Canada, bringing Canadians from all walks of life together from coast to coast to coast in a moment of reflection and gratitude.
On Nov 11th, Remembrance Day ceremonies are held at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada. Photo Credit: Sean Morton

The Poppy: A Symbol of Remembrance

One of the most recognizable symbols associated with Remembrance Day in Canada is the iconic red and black poppy. Specifically, the poppy flower became a symbol of remembrance due to the famous poem "In Flanders Fields" by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian physician. In addition, in the weeks leading up to Remembrance Day, volunteers from local branches of the Royal Canadian Legion distribute small poppy lapel pins during the Poppy Campaign all across Canada. These visual symbols of gratitude are worn by millions of Canadians across the country to honour Canada's Veterans and the sacrifices they made so we can enjoy the freedoms we do today. All proceeds from this campaign support veteran's families and ensure that Canadians never forget the sacrifices our men and women in uniform made.   

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,

by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
The poppy is a symbol of Remembrance Day in Canada. Credit: Sean Morton

Memorializing Our Fallen Heroes

Ceremonies are held to commemorate our military heroes every November on Remembrance Day in Canada.  In addition, war memorials symbolizing our nation's gratitude to those who served and sacrificed to protect our nation are evident in cities, towns, and communities across Canada year around. Frequently, these memorials are situated at the heart of town, where they are tended by volunteers from the local community, 'lest we forget.' In addition, the contributions of Canada's servicemen and women are honoured in structures like the Memorial Fountain in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Veterans Memorial Parkway in London, Ontario, the Albert Memorial Bridge in Regina, Saskatchewan and the famous murals in Chemainus, BC.  As a result, it is not just during Remembrance Day ceremonies that we are reminded of the importance of honouring those who served our country. Indeed, travelers and visitors can gain an appreciation of the depth and breadth of the sacrifices made by Canadian men and women in uniform, and an understanding of our commitment to their memories by visiting the war memorials in towns and communities across Canada.
'Lest We Forget' mural commemorating the fallen heroes of WWI in Chemainus, British Columbia. Photo Credit: Sean Morton

Honouring Veterans of WWI, WII, and the Korean War: Gander War Memorial, Gander, NL

The Gander War Memorial, Gander, NL like so many tributaries in small communities across Newfoundland, commemorates the veterans and fallen soldiers of the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War. Surprisingly, in addition to observing Remembrance Day each November, Newfoundlanders also recognize Memorial Day every July 1st. Interestingly, Memorial Day originally honoured the loss of 700 soldiers in the 1st Newfoundland Regiment from the Dominion of Newfoundland at Beaumont-Hamel during the Battle of the Somme in WWI. When Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949, war-time sacrifices of men and women in the Canadian Military were honoured alongside those who served in WWI. Inscribed on the war memorial in Gander Newfoundland, which is topped by a statue of "Winged Victory", are words from Laurence Binyon's poem.


They shall grow not old, as we who are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We shall remember them.

Their name liveth for evermore.

by Laurence Binyon

Remembering the Soldiers of the Crimean War: Sebastopol Monument, Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Sebastopol Monument, Halifax, Nova Scotia (also known as the Welsford-Parker Monument) is a triumphal arch that commemorates the Siege of Sebastopol (1854-1855). It is the fourth oldest war monument in Canada (1860), and the only monument in North America dedicated to the Crimean War. The Crimean War was fought between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, France, the United Kingdom, and Sardinia-Piedmont. At the time, the Russian Empire was expanding, the Ottoman Empire was declining, and both Britain and France had an interest in the Ottoman Empire holding the balance of power in Europe. Ultimately, the allied armies were victorious, and the Siege of Sebastopol was a the culminating conflict in the Crimean War.

Remembrance Day in Canada is a time to remember and reflect. Photo: Sean Morton

Recognzing Military Leaders: Wolfe-Montcalm Obelisk, Quebec City, Quebec

The Wolfe-Montcalm Obelisk is located outside Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, Quebec.  In particular, it is the second oldest war monument in Canada (after Nelson's Column, Montreal), and it was built to commemorate two generals, James Wolfe and Louis-Joseph de Montcalm. Both generals fought and died in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, a pivotal battle of the Seven Years' War where the British defeated the French, ultimately leading France to cede most of its territories in North America to Britain. Interestingly, this is one of very few war memorials that commemorate both the victor and defeated. It bears the Latin inscription "Their courage gave them a common death, history a common fame, posterity a common memorial."

Their courage gave them a common death, history a common fame, posterity a common memorial

by John Charlton Fisher

Honouring Aboriginal Soldiers: National Aboriginal Veterans Monument, Ottawa, Ontario

The National Aboriginal Veterans Monument in Ottawa, Canada commemorates the contributions of all Aboriginal Peoples in war and peacekeeping operations from World War I to the present.  Remembrance ceremonies are held at the monument on November 8th, Indigenous Veterans Day, to honour the courage, bravery, and contributions of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit soldiers in Canada's Armed Forces.  Despite being denied the full rights of citizenship under Canada's colonial Indian Act, Indigenous, Métis, and Inuit men and women have served at home and overseas during both peacetime and war. More than 4,000 Indigenous men enlisted in the Canadian military during WWI, along with unrecorded numbers of Metis and Inuit, many of whom served in the primarily Indigenous 107th'Timber Wolf' Battalion and the 104th 'Brock's Ranger's' Battalion. The monument includes a Golden Eagle, or Thunderbird, who serves as a messenger between the Creator and man, and symbolizes the spirit of all Aboriginal Peoples. The sculptor, Lloyd Pinay, said that the major theme for this memorial "was that the reason for war is in all likelihood a desire for peace."

Aboriginal War Memorial, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Understanding Military Nurses: Saskatchewan War Memorial, Regina, Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan War Memorial, Regina, SK is located on the grassy grounds of the Legislative Buildings in Regina, Saskatchewan, and Remembrance Day in Canada ceremonies are held here each November.  This impressive monument is dedicated to the brave soldiers who lost their lives during the First and Second World Wars, the following conflicts, and the peacekeeping missions that have been undertaken since. Interestingly, the memorial has two parts, the entirety listing the names of over 10,000 people from Saskatchewan who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may all enjoy the freedoms we do today. Impressively, there is a section dedicated to the Military Nurses of Canada. Since 1885 nurses have been providing skilled and compassionate care to sick and wounded soldiers. In 1904, professional nurses entered the Canadian Army Medical Corps as Nursing Sisters, becoming the first women in the British Empire to receive military rank.

Saskatchewan War Memorial, Regina, SK commemorates role of Military Nurses of Canada. Photo Credit: Sean Morton

Memorial Drive - Landscape of Memory, Calgary, Alberta

The Memorial Drive Landscape of Memory in Calgary, Alberta is a war memorial like no other, and Remembrance Day in Canada ceremonies are held here every November. It includes a 9 km long green space along the banks of the Bow River, which is planted with poplars that are descended from trees planted in 1922. Within these trees, which provide living memorials to Calgary soldiers who lost their lives in WWI, stands the large, white marble Calgary Soldier's Memorial. Names of soldiers from The King's Own Calgary Regiment, The Calgary Highlanders, the current 10th Battalion CEF, and many other units are etched into the marble. Moreover, adjacent to the Soldier's Memorial is Poppy Plaza is an 86,100 sq ft War Memorial that includes a folded wood deck encircling a heritage tree.  Its large, weathered steel walls trace the contours of the riverbank and border a popular urban hiking and cycling trail. The towering metal walls mark the passage of time, and are engraved with quotations from world leaders and soldiers relating to honour, hope, sacrifice, and wartime experiences. This monument invokes a powerful sense of respect, awe, and introspection in the thousands of people who pass it every day.

All Sappers Memorial Park, Chilliwack, British Columbia

All Sappers Memorial Park, Chilliwack, BC features a tall stone cenotaph adorned with a cross, a small concrete tent, and a monument neatly arranged in a circle. The park recognizes the sacrifices of military engineers, known as sappers, in both peacetime and war. Sappers, or combat engineers, facilitate and support movement, defence, and survival of allied forces, and impede those of enemies. They are trained to undertake a variety of duties, including breaching fortifications, demolitions, bridge-building, laying or clearing mine fields, preparing defences, and road and airfield construction and repair. The All Sappers Memorial Park is associated with the nearby 'Camp Chilliwack', now known as Canadian Forces Base Chilliwack. Camp Chilliwack was established on February 15, 1942, two months after the Empire of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbour, which launched the Pacific Theatre of World War II, and increased military activity along the west coast of North America.
War Memorials across Canada offer reminders to reflect and remember. Photo Credit: Sean Morton

In Conclusion: A Time to Reflect and Remember Canada

Remembrance Day in Canada ceremonies, and the hundreds of war memorials located across this country, remind us to reflect on the ideals that the brave men and women of Canada's Armed Forces fought and died for, and continue to defend today. What kind of future did the soldiers who gave their lives imagine for those they left behind? What are the freedoms we enjoy as a result of their service and sacrifice? What responsibilities do we have as a result? Standing below many of these monuments, we are reminded that freedom does not come without a price, that democracy is worth protecting, and that peace is the ultimate goal. Remembrance Day in Canada is a time to remember and reflect.

Remembrance Day in Canada 

  Memorials Honouring Canada's Heroes Coast to Coast

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Wellington St, Ottawa, ON K1P 5A4, Canada
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Comments 10

EH Canada Marketing Group on Tuesday, 07 November 2023 19:55

Thank you for this article. Our Dad served and is now passed. He did not ever talk about the war, but it had an effect on him. Miss him very much. Colin and I always go to the ceremony to honour him and those who serve and have fallen. Thank you for this. This is what I love about real time tourism. Everything is timely and has meaning.

Thank you for this article. Our Dad served and is now passed. He did not ever talk about the war, but it had an effect on him. Miss him very much. Colin and I always go to the ceremony to honour him and those who serve and have fallen. Thank you for this. This is what I love about real time tourism. Everything is timely and has meaning.
Andrea Horning on Wednesday, 08 November 2023 00:48

What a fantastic read. Perfect timing.

What a fantastic read. Perfect timing.
Sonya Richmond on Wednesday, 08 November 2023 17:54

EH Canada Marketing Group Many people we met and spoke with across Canada had family members who served, or knew of someone who was or is in the armed forces. It is an experience Canadians share across the country, and one I share as well. It really struck us that almost every small community has a plaque or war memorial at its center honouring those who served, and they are always immaculately cared for, year around. I'm glad there is a day dedicated to the memory of those who served and sacrificed and their families.

EH Canada Marketing Group Many people we met and spoke with across Canada had family members who served, or knew of someone who was or is in the armed forces. It is an experience Canadians share across the country, and one I share as well. It really struck us that almost every small community has a plaque or war memorial at its center honouring those who served, and they are always immaculately cared for, year around. I'm glad there is a day dedicated to the memory of those who served and sacrificed and their families.
Sonya Richmond on Wednesday, 08 November 2023 17:55

The timining is thanks to the incredibly quick turn around and hard work of Eh Canada Travel - a huge thank you!!

The timining is thanks to the incredibly quick turn around and hard work of Eh Canada Travel - a huge thank you!!
Cora Lee Rennie on Wednesday, 08 November 2023 23:03

Great article at the perfect timing Sonya! Beautiful photos and words in time for Remembrance Day. Grateful for the brave men and women who serve and have served for our beautiful country!

Great article at the perfect timing Sonya! Beautiful photos and words in time for Remembrance Day. Grateful for the brave men and women who serve and have served for our beautiful country!
Diana Mohrsen on Thursday, 09 November 2023 23:27

This is an excellent blog, not only helping us remember all those who lost their lives to defend our freedom, but also reminding us of all the city and small town Remembrance Day ceremonies. So many Canadian towns have some type of memorial in the town center.

This is an excellent blog, not only helping us remember all those who lost their lives to defend our freedom, but also reminding us of all the city and small town Remembrance Day ceremonies. So many Canadian towns have some type of memorial in the town center.
Sonya Richmond on Friday, 10 November 2023 15:33

Cora Lee Rennie Yes, we all have so much to be grateful for in Canada and I think it is really important that we take the time to reflect and remember, especially during hard times, when its easy to focus too much on the challenges.

Cora Lee Rennie Yes, we all have so much to be grateful for in Canada and I think it is really important that we take the time to reflect and remember, especially during hard times, when its easy to focus too much on the challenges.
EH Canada Marketing Group on Friday, 10 November 2023 17:05

Big day tomorrow.

Big day tomorrow.
Cora Lee Rennie on Friday, 10 November 2023 17:53

Sonya Richmond I agree! Happy Remembrance Day! Lest we Forget!

Sonya Richmond I agree! Happy Remembrance Day! Lest we Forget!
Cora Lee Rennie on Friday, 10 November 2023 17:53

EH Canada Marketing Group Happy Remembrance Day! Lest we forget!

EH Canada Marketing Group Happy Remembrance Day! Lest we forget!
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