Canadians recognize Remembrance Day, originally called Armistice Day, every 11 November at 11 a.m. It marks the end of hostilities during the First World War and an opportunity to remember all those who have served in the nation’s defence.
Armistice Day was inaugurated in 1919 throughout much of the British Empire, but on the second Monday in November. In 1921, the Canadian Parliament passed an Armistice Day bill to observe ceremonies on the first Monday in the week of 11 November, but this combined the event with the Thanksgiving Day holiday. For much of the 1920s, Canadians observed the date with little public demonstration. Veterans and their families gathered in churches and around local memorials, but observances involved few other Canadians.
In 1928, some prominent citizens, many of them veterans, pushed for greater recognition and to separate the remembrance of wartime sacrifice from the Thanksgiving holiday. In 1931, the federal government decreed that the newly named Remembrance Day would be observed on 11 November and moved Thanksgiving Day to a different date. Remembrance Day would emphasize the memory of fallen soldiers instead of the political and military events leading to victory in the First World War.
Remembrance Day rejuvenated interest in recalling the war and military sacrifice, attracting thousands to ceremonies in cities large and small across the country. It remained a day to honour the fallen, but traditional services also witnessed occasional calls to remember the horror of war and to embrace peace. Remembrance Day ceremonies were usually held at community cenotaphs and war memorials, or sometimes at schools or in other public places. Two minutes of silence, the playing of the Last Post, the recitation of In Flanders Fields, and the wearing of poppies quickly became associated with the ceremony.
Remembrance Day has since gone through periods of intense observation and periodic decline. The 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in 1995 marked a noticeable upsurge of public interest, which has not ebbed in recent years.
Locally, residents of Niagara will pause to remember the men and women who fought for our freedoms and gather at cenotaphs throughout Niagara for Remembrance Day.
In Ottawa, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan will be at the national ceremony representing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who is in France where he will attend Armistice Day ceremonies in Paris today, marking the end of the “war to end all wars.”
Niagara will take time to remember in several communities today.
Brock University will host a gathering at Ian Beddis Gym starting at 10:45 featuring aboriginal drumming and the placing of wreaths.
In St. Catharines, veterans will lay wreaths at the Honour Rolls and Watson Memorial and the Branch 24 Cenotaph at 10:15.
Veterans and legion members will then march through the downtown to the Cenotaph at Memorial park for a Remembrance Day Service.
The procession will leave city hall and travel west on Church Street, and continue south on Ontario Street and west on St. Paul Street West to the
Motorists and pedestrians are advised that there will be a rolling road closure while the procession moves from City Hall to the Cenotaph at Memorial park.
The service at the Cenotaph at Memorial Park ceremony begins at 11 a.m.
In Niagara Falls, a service begins at 10:45 at the Gale Centre.
In Welland, Morningstar Avenue between Southworth Street and Macinnis Street will be closed from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. today for the annual
Royal Canadian Legion BR 4 Remembrance Day Parade.
There are two ceremonies in Port Colborne. One has changed locations due to the inclement weather
Branch 56 of the Royal Canadian Legion will be moving from H.H. Knoll Lakeview Park to the Legion at 67 Clarence Street at 10:45 a.m. A second ceremony is set for the Humberstone Cenotaphy starting at 11 am.
In Pelham, a service begins at 10:45 at Veterans Park in Fonthill.
In Niagara on the Lake, there are two Remembrance Day services scheduled, the first at the Queen Street Cenotaph from 10 am – 12 pm and the second in Queenston at the Niagara Parkway Cenotaph from 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm.
In Grimsby, Remembrance Day Ceremony, Legion Branch 127 at 10:30am. Grimsby Cenotaph, Grimby Museum 6 Murray Street.
In Lincoln, Legion #612 Warm Memorial, corner of King and William Streets in front of Jacob Beam School at 10:30 a.m.
Wainfleet ceremonies will take place at 11 a.m. at the Wainfleet Cenotaph at the corner of Park and Sugarloaf Streets.
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