Remembrance Day is a pretty deal in Guelph, and yes it’s a pretty big deal across Canada, but Guelph is the hometown of Col. John McCrae, who’s famous poem is recited every November 11 at commemorations around the country. For this Remembrance Day, those commemorations will at least be semi-normal once again, and while there will be no parade, their will be some hybrid public events.
Although there is no parade, or ceremony in the Sleeman Centre this year, the Royal Canadian Legion Col. John McCrae Memorial Branch 234 will be holding two small ceremonies on Thursday morning. The first is at McCrae House Memorial Gardens, 108 Water Street, at 8:45 am, and the second is at the the Guelph Cenotaph at Woolwich Street at Eramosa Road, at 10:15 am. Both ceremonies are being billed as “brief” outdoor services, and they will streamed live on Guelph Museums Facebook page.
If you are attending these outdoor gatherings, you will have to follow COVID-19 safety protocols like masking and physical distancing. Both the Civic Museum and McCrae House will be open for visitors until 5 pm on Remembrance Day with admission by donation, but you will have to show proof of vaccination and wear a mask in order to enter.
Friends of the Guelph Legion are invited for comradeship and reflection on Thursday afternoon from 1 to 5 pm at the Legion Hall. Guelph Transit will also be providing a special bus for veterans and Legion members that will take them from the Legion Hall at 9:45 to the cenotaph for the ceremony, and then return them to the Legion afterwards.
Of course, poppy sales are a big fundraising tool for the Legion, and they are also promoting the need for donations to their Poppy Trust Fund. You send them a good old fashioned cheque to the Legion Hall at 57 Watson Parkway South, and or you can send them an e-transfer to guelphpoppytrust [at] gmail.com. Anyone making a donation of $20 or more will be given a charitable receipt.
For local school students, the Upper Grand District School Board will be holding a virtual Remembrance Day commemoration that will be broadcast to all schools Thursday morning. For University of Guelph students, in-person commemorations move from their traditional location in War Memorial Hall and will be held outdoors in Branion Plaza at 10:30 am. A virtual ceremony will be steamed from War Memorial Hall starting at 11 am.
It’s also Holocaust Education Week on campus. Until November 12, a cattle car with an audio-visual exhibit featuring the stories of survivors will once again be in Banion Plaza and open to the public every day from 10 am to 4:30 pm. On Thursday night at 7 pm, there will also be a virtual talk from Holocaust survivor Sol Nayman, who was four years old when his family fled Poland as the Jewish people there were round up and sent to concentration camps. Click here to get full details.
And finally, here’s a list of what’s open and when, and what’s closed at the City of Guelph on Remembrance Day.