“Poppy Day” Tradition In Canada & The Plaque That Hangs In The ‘Prince Arthur Hotel’ In Thunder Bay, Ontario.


by Anura Guruge

Prior posts:
>> Poppy Day, November 11, British Remembrance Day:
>> A Beautiful Tradition — Nov. 10, 2012.

>> Poppy Day, 2012: President Obama
>> In Arlington Without One — Nov. 11, 2012.
>> I ask President Obama to wear a poppyNov. 11, 2012.

To See a more detailed picture of this plaque
taken June 2013 — click.

From a contributor from Ontario, Canada.

This above plaque hangs in the lobby of the Prince Arthur Hotel in the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario, the amalgamation of twin cities Fort William and Port Arthur in 1970.

Mme. Anna Guerin, wife of a French jurist and founder of a Paris war orphanage reached out to North American for financial support. She was aware of Canadians’ strong association between the Flanders poppy and their heavy overseas losses, their “fallen” soldiers, since late December 1915 when an little poem “In Flanders Fields” appeared anonymously in England’s popular periodical ‘Punch‘.

This turned out to be authored by an Ontario physician army officer, composed that May while contemplating the fresh grave of friend, which later was sent to England by a fellow officer.

As she wrapped up her charitable fundraising, in 1921 Mme. Guerin brought out French-made cloth replicas of the wildflower and, with the encouragement of Canada’s first ‘returned soldiers’ association [see plaque] and public support asked government to recognize it and ask citizens everywhere to wear one on November 11 that year. Recently with our own Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa, the custom has arisen spontaneously of placing one’s poppy on the sculpture, a blanket of funeral-like flowers. A moving sight.

The first Armistice Day in the Empire, 1918, was an occasion of celebration and thanksgiving for victory. But in 1919 King George V asked his subjects everywhere to pause just where they were, to stop all traffic, and to observe two minute of silence at the stroke of 11 am in remembrance of those who did not come back. This tradition makes it a solemn day, remembering our many losses, the families they left behind, while former military “vets” join civilians recalling lost comrades.

Punch 1915

Prince Arthur Hotel a Thunder Bay landmark

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About Anura Guruge

See 'The Blogger' on my https://nhlifefree.com/ blog.

2 responses to ““Poppy Day” Tradition In Canada & The Plaque That Hangs In The ‘Prince Arthur Hotel’ In Thunder Bay, Ontario.”


    This is the early ‘Returned soldiers/veteran group (est. 1917) meeting that started off wearing the replica poppy on November 11 amongst the Empire group of nations just after the Great War, Great Britain approached next, Australia, then New Zealand whose date differs as the shipment of replicas got there too late to join the others – they use an April date. Other places were
    involved as Anu records from the colonial days.

    – Canada of course does not call it ‘Poppy Day’, as that was merely an early money-raising occasion prior to the 11th, and we don’t celebrate the flower itself, but mourn the lost lives for which it stands as our soldier poet wrote.
    It was always “Armistice Day” here, mixed with the idea of thanksgiving for victory, for a decade, when remembrance of our Fallen became the overwhelming sentiment amongst civilians and aging war veterans with whom those men and nurses had served overseas
    “Since 1931 Remembrance Day has remained the official title for the annual commemoration ever since, although the term “Armistice Day,” is sometimes used interchangeably, but unofficially. “Remembrance Day,” a more flexible and inclusive term, readily accommodates the remembrance of war dead from the Second World War, the Korean War, other conflicts, and peacekeeping.” (source: Canadian War Museum online)
    Ironically in the midst of the gathering war clouds over Europe, our government in the mid 1930s also renamed Ottawa’s ‘Victory Tower’ as the ‘Peace Tower’.

    • aguruge says :

      Sorry. I struggled with what to call the post to give it relevance and associate it with my prior posts. I just changed it and put Poppy Day within quotes. Yes, I was going to call it ‘Armistice Day’ but that is not a term that familiar to U.S. readers and 95% of the visitors here are from the U.S.
      I have actually been to the Armistice site in Compiègne in the 1980s.
      Thanks for all this material. All the best.
      Send me more. I have e-mailed the hotel asking for more pictures.

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