1 C
Niagara Falls
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Row on row the poppies blow at Court House and museum
Janet Guy, a volunteer, helps set up the poppy display at the NOTL Court House. Photos by Somer Slobodian and Evan Loree
About 30 volunteers worked hard to knit and crochet more than 4,000 poppies for the NOTL Poppy Project. The Davey Tree Expert Company helped with the installation. Photos by Somer Slobodian and Evan Loree
Volunteers hung up nets full of poppies outside of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Court House on Nov. 1. Photos by Somer Slobodian and Evan Loree
Yvonne Causer, left, and Nancy Macri, right, add the final touches to the poppies. Photos by Somer Slobodian and Evan Loree
Volunteers and workers from Davey Tree Expert company work together to hang more than 4,000 poppies for the NOTL Poppy Project. Photos by Somer Slobodian and Evan Loree
Pauline Metyler is just one of this year's 30 volunteers. Photos by Somer Slobodian and Evan Loree
These poppies were made last year and have been kept in sotrage since last rembrance day. Photos by Somer Slobodian and Evan Loree
Poppy Project Volunteers suspend their hand made poppies from the museum bell tower. Photos by Somer Slobodian and Evan Loree
Poppies hang from the trees at the NOTL Museum. Photos by Somer Slobodian and Evan Loree
Some volunteers have been making poppies since January, but the team has been meeting regularly since August. Photos by Somer Slobodian and Evan Loree
Denise Ascenzo helps hang up more than 4,000 poppies at the Court House for the NOTL Poppy Project. Photos by Somer Slobodian and Evan Loree

Remembrance Day is a time to be thankful.

That’s what 11-year-old Nathaniel John Fee-Symonds said while he watched volunteers hang about 4,000 poppies Tuesday outside the historic Niagara-on-the-Lake Court House. 

The poppies were hand-knit and crocheted by a team of 30 volunteers from the NOTL Museum.

“I think it’s amazing for a town this size,” said Nathanial’s grandmother, Sandra Porteous. 

“That’s the nice thing about coming to a place like this. You can tell that people actually think about it,” she said. 

Every Remembrance Day, Porteous’s husband brings out his father’s war box from  the Second World War. 

“It was his father’s navy chest. And every Remembrance Day we open it up and look at his medals, and all the different things and the photos,” she said.

While Porteous watched Tuesday, volunteers from the NOTL Museum and Davey Tree Expert Company unravelled the bundle of fabric poppies.

“There’s so many women behind that are not on the scene that have been knitting and crocheting since last August,” said volunteer Nancy Macri.

The poppies were attached by twist ties to 14-foot sheets of netting. 

Six of the sheets were hung from the Court House on Queen Street and the rest were strung from the NOTL Museum bell tower.

Last year was the first year for the Poppy Project, and the women who volunteered their time managed to knit and crochet 3,500 poppies.

After last year’s success, the team decided to expand the project this year. 

“It’s about remembering the deceased, who gave you and me what we have here,” Macri said.

With 4,000 poppies to make and 10 fewer less volunteers than the 40 from last year, the team had to start early.

Some of them began knitting as early as January.

The hanging poppies are the brainchild of project co-ordinator Barbara Worthy. 

“It really is symbolizing the words lest we forget,” Worthy said outside the museum, looking up at the freshly hanging display of poppies. 

Worthy’s great-grandfather and grandfather died in service to their country during the First and Second World Wars. 

She’s not the only one who was commemorating a family member. 

Terry Mactaggart remembers her father, who served as a bomber during the Second World War.

“He never talked about it,” she said.

Except for one time, where she remembers him “spilling his guts” to one of her brothers when he was asked to interview a veteran for an assignment.

She recalls finding a chest of photos from her father’s time in the service.

“His squadron was the first into Belsen and so the pictures were horrifying,” she said. 

Most of the volunteers lament that family members didn’t talk much about their time at war. They didn’t want to remember. 

“My dad was a vet and he died at 95 about four years ago,” said Janet Guy, a volunteer with the Poppy Project. 

He didn’t talk about the war, she said. But when he was 17, he was eager to enlist, even though he had to wait until he was 18.

This year, the volunteers have also set up what they describe as a poppy garden.

The team created one handmade poppy for each of the 69 soldiers commemorated on the town cenotaph.

Pam Mundy, who came up with the idea for the garden, said she remembers all the men in her family who served.

The poppies have been staked into the museum’s front lawn along with the names and death dates of the town’s soldiers. 

The display at the Court House and museum will be up until Nov. 13.

With files by Somer Slobodian.

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