Search on Narcity
Rembrance Day 2020

Lest we forget. Even in the midst of a pandemic, Remembrance Day will be an important time to commemorate all veterans and Canadians who are fighting to keep the country safe. 

But things are going to look a little different this year.

From the big ceremony in Ottawa to poppy distribution in local neighbourhoods, the Royal Canadian Legion told Narcity what's changing for 2020. 

Editor's Choice:Ontario's Stage 2 Restrictions Include A Big Warning Even For People Not In The Hotspots

Can I still get a poppy in Canada? 

The short answer is yes.

Danny Martin from the Royal Canadian Legion told Narcity that there are a number of measures in place this year. 

One big focus was getting more corporate sponsors so they could put poppy boxes in store locations without needing the physical presence of a veteran to hand them out. 

However, some people may still be out there. For example, Costco wanted a physical presence and there's a new protocol for that. 

"There's a table, poppies are separated, the member is separated from the table, you know two metres, and with a N95 mask on or at least a standard cotton mask on to proevent the spread and protect the individual from aqquiring it," Martin explained. 

That's entirely up to the legion branches and the individuals members though. 

This year they are also testing out a tap and pay method in the Ottawa area so it could be a cashless system. 

As for the risks with the communal boxes, there is no perfect solution. 

"Individuals have to realize, the same sort of danger exists with anything they handle in society these days, so the same sort of precautions need to be taken," he said about people taking poppies out of a box. 

That could mean sanitizing before and after you grab your commemorative flower pin. 

What are Remembrance Day ceremonies in Canada going to look like?

With gathering limits in place across the country and especially in Ontario, the traditional ceremonies won't be able to happen. 

However, all Canadian legion branches are still be encouraged to hold live ceremonies as long as they follow all regional health rules.

That means no public in attendance. 

"We're asking the public not to attend but at the least we will be broadcasting on Facebook live," Martin said of the big national ceremony in Ottawa. They were also working with networks to get it on TV. 

It will look different though. 

"They'll be no veterans on parade. They'll be no Canadian Armed Forces on parade," he said. "You can't march with a separation of two meters between everybody, it's impossible." 

The prime minister and governor general are still expected to attend to pay their respects. 

What happens if COVID-19 gets worse?

"You're talking in the great maybe here, which we all live in. We don't know where this is headed," Martin said in response to the potential of a big second wave.  

"Of course we have to abide by the restrictions imposed by the health authorities and the provincial government," he said.  

However, if it gets to a point where stores are closing again he acknowledged that they will take a hit. 

"It will be a great loss, there's nothing we can do about that." 

None the less he had a reminder for Canadians who have already sacrificed a lot this year. 

"We are all experiencing a lot of stress and the unknown at this particular point in time, but that just can reflect back on those from the previous conflicts and the amount of stress that was placed not just on the soldiers... but also the homefront where their loved ones were gone and facing the unknown as well," Martin said.  

"It's almost a parellel universe at the moment." 

Recommended For You