By Emma Perreault
The return of colder weather brings with it a tradition each Canadian knows very well.
Remembrance Day, commemorated on Nov. 11, is getting set to be recognized in a big way. For Kitchissippi residents, it also means a return to normalcy.
“We couldn’t have [a ceremony] inside in 2020 and 2021. We’ve been very restricted about what we could do,” said Greg Murphy, president of the Westboro Legion.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, parades and indoor ceremonies were cancelled for the last few years. Canadians were instead asked to look inside their hearts and minds for reflection, preventing an important tradition which has taken place for a century.
On Nov. 11, the Legion’s Upstairs Bar & Lounge will be open at 10:00 a.m. for viewing the national ceremony broadcasted from the National War Memorial. An hour later, a service is planned at Carlingwood Shopping Centre beginning at 11:00 a.m. With that will come band performances and the laying of wreaths, supported by veterans and various organisations.
Later in the day, a ceremony that includes the laying of wreaths will be held at the Westboro Cenotaph.
Murphy has had the challenge of planning events throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, so he is looking forward to the return of traditions. The parade is back this year, and it will consist of Cadet Corps, various community groups and some veterans.
The parade will start behind the Legion on Richmond at 1:45 p.m. and will travel down to the Cenotaph for the 2:00 p.m. service.
All participants are encouraged to revisit the Legion after the ceremony, where soup and buns will be served. The “Swing Sisters” will entertain upstairs, singing wartime songs and various popular songs from different eras.
Beginning Oct. 28, the annual poppy campaign is back. People can pick up the commemorative Canadian symbol at various community businesses and schools including: IKEA, Carlingwood Shopping Centre, and at the Canadian Tire on Carling Ave. The poppies will be available until Nov. 11 and customers can utilise a tap-to-pay function to make their donations to the branch’s Poppy Trust Fund.
A storefront in Carlingwood Shopping Centre (located between the Bentley and Laura Secord) will also be open for picking up poppies. The pop-up store will sell legion merchandise and Remembrance Day items with 100 per cent of the proceeds going towards the Westboro Legion Poppy Trust Fund.
Anyone wishing to purchase a wreath to commemorate a loved one’s memory can also do so at the Carlingwood store.
Every year, the Poppy Fund assists veterans and their families with food and shelter and helps provide comforts to those who reside in hospital or long-term care facilities. It also goes towards setting up bursaries for the children or grandchildren of veterans; contributes to medical research and training; and towards questions about pensions, disability or other services inquired about.
Murphy is looking forward to the return of in-person events and bringing the community together for Remembrance Day again.
“The fact that we have it again this year, we’re very pleased. And we do expect that the community will be glad to see us back again,” he said.