Remembrance Day ceremonies in Edmonton will look different this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but there are still ways residents can honour those who lost their lives in war.
Physical distancing guidelines and gathering restrictions mean many of the ceremonies Edmontonians are used to were cancelled or altered because of virus risk, which is important because many veterans are older and at higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19.
There will be no formal ceremony at the City Hall Cenotaph this year, according to the City of Edmonton. But individuals may still go and lay poppies at the Cenotaph.
“Edmontonians are encouraged to observe this important day in other meaningful ways. This can be done by observing a private moment of reflection, making poppies to hang in your window, or taking time to learn about Canada’s rich military history,” the city said in a news release.
Several city landmarks will be lit up in red to mark Remembrance Day, including the High Level Bridge, City Hall, Muttart Conservatory, and Rossdale Power Plant.
Public transit is also free on November 11 for veterans, active military members, and RCMP officers.
All buses and LRTs in the city will also stop for one minute at 11 am as a tribute to all Canadian veterans.
Norwood Legion is hosting a scaled-down outdoor Remembrance Day ceremony at 10:45 am on November 11. Physical distancing will be enforced, and wreaths will be pre-placed at the Cenotaph so guests do not walk through the crowd. Anyone wishing to place a wreath personally must wait until the ceremony is over.
The Jewish Federation of Edmonton is also hosting an outdoor in-person ceremony at the Edmonton Jewish Cemetery. Attendees are asked to arrive at 10:30 am for the ceremony that begins at 11 am. For contact tracing purposes, guests are asked to register in advance.
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No Stone Left Alone, an Edmonton-founded organization that sees schoolchildren visit the gravestones of fallen soldiers, won’t be doing their usual events this year. Instead, they’re co-ordinating discussions with veterans and students via video link, and placing wreaths that children made in the classrooms at the cemetery.
Some religious organizations are hosting in-person prayer services on Remembrance Day, including Holy Trinity Anglican Church, which requests that guests RSVP in advance because there will be limited seating capacity due to the pandemic.
The Beverly Memorial Cenotaph will be broadcasting their ceremony on Facebook Live instead of hosting an in-person one this year.
Those interested in learning more about Edmonton’s military history could also plan a visit to the Loyal Edmonton Regiment Military Museum, which is open from 10 to 4 on weekdays.