Official ceremonies on or around November 11 take place at civic sites around the GTA. Also known locally as Armistice Day, the date was the official end of World War One in 1918 at “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.” It was supposed to be “the war to end all wars.” Alas, it was not.
In Toronto, Remembrance Day is “a day to honour the men and women who served and continue to serve our country in military operations both at war and at peace.” It is celebrated in schools as a day of peace.
Stores and veterans have already started selling red poppies as a sign of remembrance and as a money-raiser for veterans and their families. A few people are making and wearing white poppies which symbolize the belief that there are better ways to resolve conflicts than wars and killing human beings.
The major City of Toronto Remembrance ceremony is at Old City Hall, Bay and Queen Streets. Official events are also at East York Civic Centre, Etobicoke Civic Centre, North York Civic Centre, York Civic Centre, and Scarborough Civic Centre. Most ceremonies start between 10:15 & 10:45am. https://web.toronto.ca/city-government/awards-tributes/tributes/toronto-remembers-the-wars/
Other Remembrance Day activities are on:
November 11. Queen’s Park (https://www.ontario.ca/page/remembrance-day). You can watch this one on-line if you wish;
November 11. Strachan Avenue Military Cemetery on Garrison Common, west of Fort York. http://www.fortyork.ca/news-a-events/events/427-remembrance-day-commemoration-2017.html;
November 11. Toronto Zoo: http://www.torontozoo.com/Events/?pg=remembrance&dt=2017-11-11#evt;
November 10. Yes, November 10. 10:15-11am. Annual Service of Remembrance. Soldiers Tower,
7 Hart House Circle, University of Toronto – St. George Campus. ttps://alumni.utoronto.ca/alumni-networks/shared-interests/soldiers-tower/service-of-remembrance.
During the solemn ceremonies on November 10 and 11, there is usually the laying of wreaths and poppies on cenotaphs, trumpets playing “Taps”, bagpipe music, traditional Christian hymns, the recitation of John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Field, and military parades.
We mentioned the November 5 Ukrainian-Canadian event in a previous blog. Other events include concerts, dramatic readings, and lectures. Among these are:
Concert of Remembrance. Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, 1585 Yonge St. two blocks north of St. Clair Avenue. November 11. 7:30pm. Admission free; donations welcome. https://sites.google.com/site/9sparrowsarts/home/a-concert-of-remembrance—2017
The Songs of Those Who Healed. Canadian television, film and stage actor R.H. Thomson recounts the words of First World War nurses, doctors, mothers and wives through dramatic readings and song. November 13. 7pm. Free. Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street. Please register. https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/the-songs-of-those-who-healed-tickets-36560564633
Interfaith Concert of Remembrance. November 12. 7:30-9:30pm. Pay what you can; suggested donation $10. Beth Tzedec Sanctuary, 1700 Bathurst Street. 416-781-3511.Sponsors: Beth Tzedec Congregation, Christ Church Deer Park, Grace Church-on-the-Hill and Timothy Eaton Memorial Church. Image and more information from: https://www.beth-tzedec.org/page/families/a/display/s/1/hm/1/hc/1/item/interfaith-remembrance-day-concert
Double Threat. November 9. 1:30-3pm. $5. Historical lecture commemorating Remembrance Day and the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War Two pays tribute to the 17,000 Jewish Canadians who defeated the Nazis during the dark years of the last Great War. This program will include a special performance by the Miles Nadal JCC’s Daytime Choir. Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, 750 Spadina Avenue. http://mnjcc.org/browse-by-age/active-55/thursday-drop-in/906-double-threat-canadian-jews-the-military-and-world-war-ii
Human Flow. Documentary film playing from now to November 9, and possibly longer. 6:15 and 8:15pm. $10-$14. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King Street West. Trailer at: http://www.tiff.net/films/human-flow/.
This artistic and powerful 140-minute 2017 film directed by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei calls for an end to the increasing number of people displaced by wars, famine and climate since the end of WWI. They are estimated to be 65 million.
After amazing images of the migration and destruction of human habitats, the film which was filmed in 23 countries in one year ends with a warning about people who have grown up in refugee camps or communities with no hope of a personal future.
Humans have to learn to get along with each other.