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London, Ont. prepares for Remembrance Day with poppy campaign, parade

Poppy campaign fundraising box. March 26, 2021. Sawyer Bogdan /Global News

With Remembrance Day less than a week away, London, Ont., has been preparing with plans for a ceremony, parade and an ongoing poppy campaign.

The annual campaign, launched in late October by the Royal Canadian Legion, has been “off to a great start,” according to the legion’s communications manager Nujma Bond.

Poppy boxes are available in numerous locations across the city, along with “tap and donate” boxes, which allow people to make donations with their smartphones.

“Everywhere in London and cities across the country, people are extremely generous and they donate close to $20 million a year,” Bond said.

This year also marks the Royal Canadian Legion’s second Poppy Stories initiative, where people can use their smartphone to navigate poppystories.ca and scan their poppy to read the story of a fallen Canadian veteran.

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“This year, we have added 50 stories to the mix,” Bond said. “These veterans are all fallen peacekeepers, and that’s because this year is the 75th anniversary of the first UN peacekeeping mission.”

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“People have the chance to connect deeper with our veterans, find out about the people who have served Canada, and also get a sense of who they were, what they enjoyed, their families, their passions,” Bond continued.

In addition to the poppy campaign, London’s annual Remembrance Day ceremony and parade have been scheduled for Sat. Nov. 11.

Randy Warden, the chairperson of the City of London’s London Remembrance Day Steering Committee, says this year’s parade will take a slightly different route due to construction in the downtown.

“Those who are marching in the parade will (gather) in front of the London Delta Armouries as we do each year,” he said. “Instead of going down Wellington (Street), we’re going to head up Waterloo Street this time until we get to Dufferin (Avenue). Then we’re going left on Dufferin, go past City Hall to the cenotaph (for the) service.”

Warden expects a larger crowd for this year’s ceremony and parade as it’s taking place on a weekend.

He says four bus loads of veterans will be coming in, and there will be a meet-and-greet at Centennial Hall following the ceremony and parade.

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More information on the ceremony and parade can be found on the City of London’s website.

-with files from 980 CFPL’s Mike Stubbs and Devon Peacock

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