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Niagara Falls
Tuesday, July 23, 2024
Making 3,500 poppies felt like helping the war cause, volunteer says



Nearly 3,500 bright red hand-crocheted poppies now adorn the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum’s facade to honour Remembrance Day.

Volunteer Terry Mactaggart likened the weeks of work making the poppies to the experiences of women during the Great War.

“You really almost felt like you were helping with the war cause,” Mactaggart said as volunteer crews from Davy Tree Service helped string up the poppies.

Mactaggart said the group of women who crocheted the poppies were akin to women during the war having to work in munitions factories while the men fought and lost their lives in the muddy, noxious trenches scarring the European continent.

“It was so wonderful to see all the women coming together. Most of us didn’t know each other,” she said.

Mactaggart said as soon as she heard about the project she had to get involved.

“It’s just so appropriate for Remembrance Day,” she said.

Museum director Sarah Kaufman agreed, saying the poppy display grew into more than an ode to the fallen heroes of the First World War, it became a symbol of “community participation.”

“This selection of women who have come out to work on this project for the last couple of weeks have been loving it and they really took control of the project,” Kaufman said in an interview at the museum.

“They all came together and crocheted the poppies and they’re here, all of them, helping to design it. It’s their museum and they’re having fun. It’s nice.”

Kaufman said the poppies will stay up until Nov. 12, when volunteer crews from Davy’s will return to unlatch the display from the museum’s roof.

It’s the first year the museum has undertaken such an ambitious display. “We’re really excited about it,” Kaufman said.

The display was inspired by a similar one by the Niagara Falls Museum, which donated some of its leftover poppies for NOTL’s project.

But the leftovers weren’t enough for the NOTL volunteers, Kaufman said.

“They did thousands more and wanted to do a real in-depth display, so it took on a life of its own. It's going to be its own form, which is great,” she said.

One volunteer guessed the team of used some 100,000 zip ties to attach all the poppies to the netting. It's impossible to verify that number but a close look at the mammoth display leads one to think it's a good ball-park estimation.

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