Londoners invited to mark Remembrance Day 2021 in person

Poppy chairman Ross Seip (left) with London Mayor Ed Holder (right) at the launch of the 2021 poppy campaign at London City Hall on Oct. 28, 2021 . Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

Unlike last year, Londoners will be able to attend the Remembrance Day ceremony in person this year with several COVID-19 protocols in place.

On Thursday, the province announced it was removing capacity limits at outdoor, organized public events to allow for Remembrance Day ceremonies and Santa Claus parades.

Read more: Ontario removes capacity limits allowing for Santa Claus parades, other outdoor public events

This change has allowed for what was set to be another private ceremony to be opened up to the public, with anyone who wishes to attend being asked to wear a mask and follow physical distancing rules.

The ceremony will take place at the London Cenotaph in Victoria Park, with up to 100 participants within a designated barrier and spectators welcome to gather outside the sectioned-off area.

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“We will set up a perimeter around the event as we did last year and within the perimeter, we will stay compliant. If there is a full-out loosening we would hope to see Londoners take advantage of that and come down to observe,” said veteran Randy Warden, who also serves as the chairperson for the London Remembrance Day Committee as well as a local zone commander for the Royal Canadian Legion.

Warden was at City Hall Thursday to officially launch the start of the 2021 poppy campaign and present Mayor Ed Holder with the first poppy on behalf of the city.

Veterans from the Parkwood Institute long-term care home will be in attendance, in a heated bus parked beside the ceremony.

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“We have to be cautiously protective of our veterans and some of the older demographics,” said Warden.

This year will also mark the 100th year of the poppy campaign, being used as a sign to honour those lost during the First and Second World Wars, well as the wars that followed.

Read more: Ontario would compel employers to let workers wear poppies around Remembrance Day

To recognize 100 years of the poppy, replicas of the original poppy worn 100 years ago will also be distributed this year.

Warden noted they are hoping to raise $240,000, with people having the option to give a virtual payment at some locations. All the money raised will go towards supporting veterans and programs to help veterans.

“Supporting the poppy is supporting veterans, so what it means is every loonie, toonie or $5 or $10-bill that people can put in the box helps to support our veterans,” Holder said.

Those wanting to lay a wreath at the cenotaph are invited to do so between noon and 8 p.m. on Nov. 10 and between 8 a.m and 10 a.m. on Nov. 11, or after 1 p.m. on Remembrance Day, following the ceremony.

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