The Poppy: Canada’s symbol of Remembrance


The bright red poppy has deep meaning in Canada. “For me it means remembering my grandfather, he’s a Veteran” – “Remembering the contributions they made to keep us safe for the life we have in Canada.” “To honour those people that died for the country.” “Just our fallen soldiers, you know the sacrifices they made in terms of the liberties and freedoms we have now, what it means to me.” Using the poppy as a powerful symbol of Remembrance was inspired by the famous poem “In Flanders Fields.” It was written by Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae during the First World War. An act of Parliament later gave The Royal Canadian Legion the exclusive right to use the poppy as the nation’s symbol of Remembrance. The lapel poppy for the Remembrance period is created in Canada, starting with bolts of red fabric… The poppy makes its first appearance at the ceremonial First Poppy presentation to the Governor General of Canada. Once the Legion’s National Poppy Campaign officially starts on the last Friday in October – volunteers and organizations hand out poppies. In 2018, the Legion’s digital poppy made its first appearance, allowing people to also donate online. The funds collected ultimately help our Veterans, support our communities, and help promote Remembrance. “The Legion helped me through the poppy fund, with rent, food and groceries.” Paul Valiquette served on several missions overseas, and faced a challenging transition to civilian life. Now a service officer with the Legion’s Provincial Command in Regina, he is a first point of contact for other veterans needing help…like a woman who was about to have her power cut off. “As soon as I said we were going to try to help her, she was relieved, stress level came down.” The Poppy Fund is supporting Paul’s training to become a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor for veterans, their families and caregivers – teaching them how to provide initial help during a mental health emergency. Donated funds also help organizations such as the Perley and Rideau Veterans Health Centre in Ottawa. “Equipment like medical beds we have to provide, but it would not be possible without the support of the Legion, lifts, we changed our dining room furniture recently and that is providing comfort for Veterans that would not be possible without the support of the Legion.” Delphine Hasle says even adding seemingly small things such as new benches in bright hallways – is actually life-giving. “Want to say thank you to all members of the Legion, thank you, and thank you to the public for supporting the poppy fund.” Close to 20 million poppies are distributed annually during the National Poppy Campaign. Every year, close to that same number of dollars goes back into helping Veterans in their communities…from providing life essentials … to helping homeless Veterans get off the streets. Back in the classroom, Paul is happy to have the opportunity to help other veterans directly. “It’s a way of giving back, type of thing. At the same time as I present this course, hopefully I’m presenting more about the Legion, what we do, and the poppy fund.” “I thank them for their service. When I put on a poppy it makes me feel proud to be a Canadian, for the past 5 years, I’m honoured to be here.” Thank you for supporting The Royal Canadian Legion’s National Poppy Campaign. To learn more about how the Poppy Trust Fund helps Veterans, visit Legion.ca