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Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Thousands of knitted, crocheted poppies to adorn exterior of museum

The Poppy Project is moving outside.

The arborists at Davey Tree Expert Co. of Canada Ltd. will be volunteering to help install thousands of knitted and crocheted poppies on the exterior facade of the NOTL Museum next week.

The museum joined a nationwide Poppy Project to create a special display at the museum after a donation of more than 1,500 poppies from the Niagara Falls Museum – left over from its own poppy installation in 2020.

As previously documented in The Lake Report, nearly 40 volunteers in Niagara-on-the-Lake formed the Poppy Brigade – and for the past six weeks they knitted, crocheted, glued, cut and attached about 3,000 poppies to netting or bamboo sticks.

The poppies will cascade down on the outside of the museum’s building at 43 Castlereagh St. to form a path to the Canadian flag, as well as a “garden” of poppies.

Hanging them is a job that can only be accomplished from a cherry picker. And Davey’s experts have volunteered their services. The netting will be hung on Nov. 1, weather permitting, from the bell tower at the top of the museum’s exterior façade.

The tower is part of the original Niagara High School, circa 1875, which has been part of the museum complex since the 1940s.

“The poppy ‘production line’ has been a place of great efficiency,” said organizer Barbara Worthy.

“We’ve almost lost count of the number of red and black balls of yarn and the thousands of zip ties we’ve used. But mostly it’s been about the enormous fun and conviviality, the amazing ideas for design and installation, and the satisfaction of completion.”

The Poppy Brigade itself is reminiscent of the knitting and sewing groups formed during both world wars, when packages of socks and woollens were sent overseas for the troops.

“The same enthusiasm and community spirit is here with all these volunteers,” said Worthy. “Even the Niagara Girl Guide Rangers played a part, spending an entire evening attaching poppies.”

Niagara is not alone in this endeavour. Poppy-makers worldwide have joined the campaign to honour veterans of all wars and to pay special homage to the symbolism of the poppy.

This year is also the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the poppy by the Great War Veterans’ Association as a symbol of remembrance. The annual poppy campaign allows the Royal Canadian Legion to offer advocacy and financial assistance to veterans and their families.

The museum’s display can be viewed from Nov. 2 to 12 and visitors are encouraged to drop by, especially on Remembrance Day, Nov. 11.