There are plenty of ways to honour Remembrance Day without visiting cenotaphs

Many Legion branches looking to livestreaming and virtual ceremonies amid COVID-19

COVID-19 has ensured that Remembrance Day is not going to be the same this year, but the public is still encouraged to pay their respects when the clock strikes 11 a.m. on Nov. 11.

All Royal Canadian Legion branches across B.C. that have managed to stay open during the pandemic are working hard to honour those who have served, while still adhering to COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines.

Norm Scott, president of the Legion’s Greater Victoria-area Langford branch, told Black Press Media the branch was able to reopen in June after being temporarily closed during the height of the pandemic.

“There will be a small Legion service based on Remembrance Day protocol in the name of our fallen soldiers of the past and present,” Scott said.

Branch 91 has been around since 1937, although not necessarily in the location it is in now. The branch has moved twice, and is now sitting at Station Ave — a location that will be unfortunately closed on Remembrance Day, due to the safety for everyone.

“I’d rather not have the risk and the chance of something happening and putting the legion in jeopardy,” Scott said.

All Remembrance Day ceremonies will be held virtually, with each Legion holding a maximum occupancy of 50 people, for those who choose to stay open.

A woman lays flowers following Remembrance Day ceremonies at God’s Acre Veteran’s Cemetery in Victoria, B.C., on Sunday, November 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

A woman lays flowers following Remembrance Day ceremonies at God’s Acre Veteran’s Cemetery in Victoria, B.C., on Sunday, November 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

The Osoyoos Legion, Branch 173, was mostly funded by K. Knudtson in 1946. The Legion has spent its entire 74-year history on 78 Street. Lyle Kent is their president.

“Our Remembrance Day ceremony on Nov. 11, will be extremely small,” Kent said. “We won’t be using any of the outdoor facilities because we won’t be able to guarantee a gathering of only 50 people.”

The Osoyoos Legion will be asking members or the general public to sign in with their name and phone number. Staff will be using this to keep track of how many people are in the building. Once it hits the 50-person cap, the branch will have to start turning people away.

Many aspects will look a little differently for Remembrance Day this year. Without the cadets handing out poppies, Legions are left to obtain poppy funds through local businesses, who put out counter boxes.

Bob Underhill, the second vice-president of The Royal Canadian Legion for the B.C. and Yukon Command, is chair of one of B.C.’s largest ceremonies – the Vancouver Remembrance Day committee for Victory Square.

Underhill says that there is a huge importance in receiving poppy funds.

“Poppy funds are held in trust and poppy funds that are collected in the area help veterans in those areas,” Underhill said. “The Legion can’t use it for anything else but to assist. That’s an important thing because a lot of people don’t understand that. We are very strict on where money can be used.”

This year, like most of the 1,350 different Legion branches across the country, Vancouver’s ceremony won’t be garnering its typically large crowd, instead allowing virtual access through livestreams and broadcasts.

To adhere to COVID-19 guidelines, many Legions have decided to lay wreaths themselves this year, in a spaced-out fashion.

To encourage social distancing, Kent said Osoyoos members will take each wreath to lay at the local cenotaph before the ceremony commences. The Victoria Legion has decided to do the same.

If people still wish to lay their own wreath, they are welcome to do so as long as it is outside the normal time of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day, Kent said.

“And turn on your TV for 11 a.m., Nov. 11 and watch the ceremony, and remember as we all will. “

Poppy donations can be placed online at legion.ca

In addition, Veterans Affairs Canada has suggested a number of physically-distanced ways to remember this year, including:

  • Listen to interviews with veterans in the First World War Audio Archives.
  • Watch La force francophone and learn about French-speaking Canadians who served in the Second World War.
  • Watch The Land of the Morning Calm – Canadians in Korea 1950-1953 which presents Korean War history, archival footage, interviews with Veterans of the Korean War and an interactive comprehensive history calendar.
  • Watch a collection of online interviews through a searchable database, with veterans from across Canada in “Heroes Remember.”
  • Visit your local cemetery and pay respect to a veteran’s grave.
  • Research the story of a family member, friend, alumni from your school or member of your community who served Canada in wartime or peacetime. If they died in service, you may wish to search for them on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
  • Write to veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members, by participating in the “Postcards for Peace e-cards,” or “Valentines for Vets” projects.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Remembrance Day

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Illuminate Spirit Revelstoke Society said Revelstoke’s dark downtown core is unwelcoming. Lighting would make it more inviting and a point of interest. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
New community group hopes to ‘light up’ Revelstoke

Illuminate Spirit Revelstoke Society aims to purchase decorative lights for the downtown core

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
Kootenay-Columbia MP supports motion condemning Uighur genocide

Rob Morrison says labelling Uighur persecution as a genocide sends a message to Chinese government

Butter and sourdough bread is shown at a house in Vernon, B.C. on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. A Quebec dairy farmers’ group is calling on milk producers to stop feeding palm oil or its derivatives to livestock as controversy churns over how these supplements affect the consistency of butter. (THE CANADIAN PRESS - Jesse Johnston)
Poll: Care to spread your feelings on butter?

Reports of hard butter have rattled the Canadian dairy industry

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

(Contributed)
Kelowna flight potentially exposed to COVID-19

Third case on a local flight this month, compared to 14 through January

Vernon Search and Rescue, with help from the Air Rescue One helicopter out of Wildcat Helicopters in Kelowna, and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue, were able to transport an injured snowmobiler to Vernon Regional Airport, where he was loaded into an ambulance and taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital with a serious, painful back injury. (Facebook photo)
Okanagan helicopter rescue teams called to retrieve injured sledder at Greystokes

Vernon and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue help load injured man into waiting helicopter

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Wills Hodgkinson, 10, and his mom Neeley Brimer get ready to battle round three of cancer. The community of Penticton has his back. (Submitted)
Community raises $21K to help Penticton boy battle third round of cancer

Okanoggin Barbers held the fundraiser on Saturday for 10-year-old Wills Hodgkinson

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
UPDATE: 70-year-old man killed in workplace accident at Baldy Mountain

The mountain closed on Saturday but has partially re-opened today (Sunday)

Most Read