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Dec. 6, 2021 | Monday
Local News
Legion poppy campaign, Remembrance Day return to 'near normal'
The poppy flag was raised Saturday morning at town hall. (File)

Mark Dawson
Special to The Lake Report

Remembrance Day ceremonies in Niagara-on-the-Lake will be slightly streamlined this year, but the public is encouraged to come out and pay their respects on Nov. 11.

The Legion flag is flying at the town’s administrative offices, most of the traditional Remembrance Day activities are resuming and the promise of better days is clearly evident. 

It's a big change from a year ago when the pandemic curtailed ceremonies and remembrance activities.

Now, “the poppy campaign is in full swing,” said Legion branch 124 president Victor Packard, “and we encourage all who are able to join us at our cenotaphs on Nov. 11.”

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Remembrance Poppy in Canada and poppy boxes are now available at local businesses,” Packard added.

“Our members and volunteers will also be out in the community with poppy boxes, continuing the tradition of remembrance for our veterans.”

Poppy campaign chair Al Howse said it all culminates, as always, at the cenotaphs in Old Town and in Queenston on Nov. 11 with the laying of wreaths and official ceremonies.

People attending any Remembrance Day events should be masked and fully vaccinated.

The day starts with a vigil by the 809 Newark Royal Canadian Air Cadets. Our local Sparks, Brownies and Guides all participate in their own way, as do many schools, groups and individuals. It’s been great to see a bit more engagement this year.” 

Howse said the laying of wreaths for families and institutions will begin at the cenotaph/clock tower, on Queen Street in Old Town at 10:15 a.m. as the flag is lowered to half-mast and the street is closed to vehicular traffic. 

Aside from what the Legion hopes will be a good turnout from the public, Legion members and representatives from the air cadets, fire department, Guides, Scouts and invited dignitaries will be present.

Names of the fallen will be read and official wreaths will be placed after the playing of "The Last Post" at 11 a.m.

For those who can't attend, Cogeco will record the service to be broadcast multiple times over the two weeks following the ceremony, Howse said.

In Queenston, attendees are asked to gather at 1 p.m. on the lawn in front of the cenotaph on Queenston Street. At 1:10, names of the fallen will be read, followed by the laying of wreaths.

The day continues with an open house at the Legion branch on King Street and the popular fish fry fundraiser.

Packard said he’s encouraged that things are starting to get back to normal.

“We’re seeing an increase in general in our activities. Our fish fry numbers have been steadily growing and we’re finding there’s more interest in our programs, like our Memories/History project," he said. "That’s a large undertaking and we're halfway through the digitization of the tapes for it.”

“Things may be trimmed down a little, but it’s very good to see the beginnings of a return to more normal times.”