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

North District RCMP are urging the public's assistance in locating Prince George resident Amber Wuetz, 25, last seen Oct. 18 in the Canim Mahood Lake area north of 100 Mile House. (Photo submitted)
Prince George woman confirmed dead, foul play not suspected

Police confirm Amber Wuertz was found deceased on Oct. 31

Masks are now officially mandatory in all City of Campbell River facilities. (Black Press File Photo)
Interior Health reports 49 new COVID-19 cases overnight

302 cases remain active; two in hospital

Donex back to normal operations after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
Update: Donex Pharmacy back to normal operations

Masks are mandatory for shoppers.

Police are asking to speak with two men who were seen driving this car outside the BMO on Saturday, Nov. 21. (Photo submitted)
100 Mile RCMP investigating after woman reports being harassed outside BMO

Young Indigenous woman reports being verbally harassed by two men outside the bank.

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
104 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

IH is reporting the new numbers since Friday, Nov. 20

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

A fentanyl test strip is used at Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver, Tuesday, January, 21, 2020. The test strips will be made available to drug users to ensure that their drugs are safe and free of Fentanyl. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Drug overdoses lead to 5 deaths each day in October; drug toxicity continues to increase

COVID-19 crisis continues to exacerbate the overdose crisis

An employee of the Adventure Hotel was taken to hospital on Nov. 20 after she confronted a customer of Empire Coffee about not wearing a mask. File photo.
Nelson hotel employee suffers heart attack after being assaulted in anti-mask incident

An accountant at the Adventure Hotel is in hospital in Kelowna

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

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

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Beaver Creek RCMP Cpl. Robert Drapeau, left to right, Gary Bath, Lynn Marchessault, Payton Marchessault, Rebecca Marchessault and Tim Marchessault pose in this recent handout photo near the Canada-U.S. border crossing near Beaver Creek, Yukon. A family reunion trip for the woman from Georgia that left them stranded ended on a bright note when Bath drove them to the Alaskan border following an appeal for help. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Gary Bath *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Help from B.C. man allows American family to reunite in Alaska

Lynn Marchessault drove from Georgia to the Alaska border to join her husband, who serves in U.S. military

Most Read