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Remembrance Day: Services mark 100 years of First World War armistice

Last Updated Nov 9, 2018 at 6:11 pm EST

A Remembrance Day sunrise ceremony at Prospect Cemetery in Toronto on Nov. 11, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
—Lt.-Col. John McCrae

At 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, an armistice was signed between Germany and allied nations, ending hostilities of the First World War — a war that would officially end a year later with the Treaty of Versailles. More than 66,000 Canadians were killed in the Great War and more than 172,000 were wounded.

Exactly 100 years later, at the 11th hour on Sunday, Canadians will observe two minutes of silence — as they do every year on this date — to remember military personnel who lost their lives in this war and other conflicts. At 11 a.m. on Sunday, TTC service will also pause for two minutes.

Several ceremonies will be held on Sunday, including on Parliament Hill in Ottawa at the Old City Hall Cenotaph in Toronto. Scroll below for services taking place in the GTA.

680NEWS.com and CityNews.ca will be live streaming the Remembrance Day parade and ceremony in Oshawa on Sunday starting at 10:30 a.m. The parade starts at R.S. McLaughlin Armouries and arrives at the Memorial Park Cenotaph for the 11 a.m. ceremony.

A man touches the helmet on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after laying a poppy following the National Remembrance Day Ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Nov. 11, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
A man touches the helmet on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after laying a poppy following the National Remembrance Day Ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Nov. 11, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Remembrance Day services

City of Toronto
Several parts of the city will be holding Remembrance Day ceremonies on Sunday, including at the Old City Hall Cenotaph, which starts at 10:45 a.m. Below is a list of all of the services. Click here for the programmes.

  • Prospect Cemetery,
  • Old City Hall Cenotaph, 60 Queen St. W (10:45 a.m.)
  • East York Civic Centre, Memorial Gardens, 850 Coxwell Ave. (10:45 a.m.)
  • Etobicoke Civic Centre Cenotaph, 399 The West Mall (10:45 a.m.)
  • Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge St. (10:45 a.m.)
  • York Civic Centre (10:45 a.m.), 2690 Eglinton Ave. W.
  • Fort York National Historic Site, 250 Fort York Blvd. (10:45 a.m.)
  • Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Dr. (2 p.m.)

 

If you cannot attend the ceremony at Old City Hall, you can also watch it on YouTube. Services will also be held across Royal Canadian Legion branches in the city and other community sites. Click here for a list.

Queen’s Park
The official provincial Remembrance Day ceremony takes place at 10:45 a.m. Sunday. Veterans, their guests, and dignitaries will commemorate the wartime sacrifices of Canadians by observing a moment of silence, and the laying of wreaths, including the People’s Wreath. Attendees are encouraged to acknowledge the sacrifices that have been made by placing a poppy on this wreath. The ceremony will held at the Ontario Veterans’ Memorial on the front lawn of Queen’s Park.

March and ringing of bells
Ahead of the Remembrance Day ceremonies at Old City Hall and at Queen’s Park, 500 members of the Canadian Armed Forces will march from Union Station to the two sites, symbolizing the march they would have done from train stations in 1918-1919. Starting at 10:10 a.m., they will travel along University Avenue, with 250 members of 32 Brigade and HMCS York arriving at the Cenotaph. The other 250 soldiers from other regiments will continue to the Queen’s Park ceremony.

To mark the 100 years since the end of the First World War, bells across Toronto — including at Old City Hall — will ring 100 times at 4:56 p.m. on Sunday. The ringing of the bells symbolizes the bells that rang in churches across Europe to mark the end of the war.

Other services
On Friday, a wreath laying service will be held at the Soldiers’ Tower (7 Hart House Circle) at the University of Toronto’s downtown campus from 10 a.m. to noon. A free reception will be held at nearby Hart House and the memorial room inside the tower will be open until 4 p.m.

The Toronto Zoo will honour the wartime sacrifices of Canadians with a special Remembrance Day ceremony on Sunday beginning at 10:55 a.m. Admission for veterans and guests to the ceremony will be free from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Parking will be free for veterans in uniform or with medals, crests, or other military insignia. The free parking will also cover serving members in uniform of the armed forces, police, fire, paramedics, and the TTC.

Other Remembrance Day events

Sunnybrook Operation Raise a Flag
On Sunday, veterans at Sunnybrook hospital will wake up to a sea of red and white Canadian flags — a tribute to those who served our country in conflict. The day before, volunteers will be planting 47,500 flags on the lawn, as part of Operation Raise a Flag. Each flag costs $25 and can be purchased here or by calling 1-866-696-2008. Money raised from the campaign will support the veterans program at the hospital, which was opened in 1948 to treat veterans.The flags will remain on the lawn until the morning of November 13.

Toronto Children’s Chorus: We Remember
The Toronto Children’s Chorus will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice with a special performance on Remembrance Day. Joined by the Chamber Choir, the Toronto Youth Choir will perform several works relating to war and peace that represent Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand.Other participants will include guest conductor Bob Chilcott who will conduct his Peace Mass. The performance takes place at 7:30 p.m. Click here for ticket information.

What’s free for veterans

Transit
Transit agencies across the GTA will also provide free transit to veterans. In Toronto, veterans and current members of the Canadian Armed Forces will be able to ride the TTC free of charge, along with one companion.

Veterans and their companion can also ride GO Transit for free, as well as immediate family members of deceased veterans. Family members will need to carry service papers or an ID card to identify their relationship to the veteran.

Veterans are asked to identify themselves by wearing their medals and uniform while riding transit.

Other items
On Sunday, Pickle Barrel will be offering a free, two-course meal to veterans and current members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Until November 18, the ROM is offering free admission to Canadian veterans and military personnel and 20 per cent off regular admission rates for family and friends. Bring your military identification with you.

What’s open and closed

Remembrance Day is not a statutory holiday but there are several closures to be aware of on Sunday and Monday. Click here for a list.

Road and TTC closures

Partial Line 1 shutdown
If you are planning to take the TTC to Remembrance Day events, Line 1 between Finch West and Lawrence West stations will be closed on Saturday and Sunday for signal work. Shuttle buses will be running. For more information on road closures around the city, visit the City of Toronto’s website.