Kitchener-Waterloo

Over 33,000 knit and crocheted poppies on display in Cambridge

Organizers with the Cambridge Poppy Project have turned more than 33,000 knit and crocheted poppies into public art installations throughout the city — including one outside the Cambridge armoury.

‘We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the response,' says organizer Susan Cresswell

Cambridge Poppy Project honours veterans

2 months ago
Duration 2:10
In advance of Remembrance Day, volunteers with the Cambridge Poppy Project are making art installations of knit and crocheted poppies throughout the city. 2:10

It's common to see poppies on jackets and lapels ahead of Remembrance Day, but this year they're also on display throughout Cambridge, Ont., as public art. 

Organizers with the Cambridge Poppy Project have turned more than 33,000 knit and crocheted poppies into public art installations throughout the city — including one outside the Cambridge armoury. 

Each poppy has been made by hand. Many of the contributions came from people in Cambridge, but organizer Susan Cresswell said some have come in from across the world. 

"We have been absolutely overwhelmed with the response," said Cresswell, 66, the knitting and crocheting community liaison with the project. 

Each poppy has been knit or crocheted by hand. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

"It's been a project where people who are feeling very isolated during the pandemic have been able to make a contribution to a beautiful piece of public art." 

Outside the Cambridge armoury, 158 poppies are attached to a light-armored vehicle, using a piece of camouflage netting. Each poppy represents one of the Canadian Armed Forces members who died while serving in Afghanistan. 

Regimental Sgt. Maj. Merlin Longaphie hopes the display will encourage drivers and pedestrians to think about the lives lost in Afghanistan. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

Regimental Sgt. Maj. Merlin Longaphie hopes drivers passing by will consider the people behind the poppies. 

"Those lives — those soldiers, sailors, air crew and the civilians that were killed there — they were members of communities that we all come from," said Longaphie, 55, with the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada.

"Their loss is still felt, not just by the families, by the units and by the communities."

Capt. Mark Richardson is with the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

Capt. Mark Richardson, also with the Royal Highland Fusiliers, agrees. 

"It's not something, generally, through the year that's on people's minds, so this is one thing that maybe can help with that," said Richardson, 35. 

This Remembrance Day, Longaphie said he will think of people he knew who died overseas and those who came back but continue to struggle. 

"That whole time in our military history is still pretty fresh for a lot of people and they're still dealing with some issues," he said. 

"So it's that that I think I will reflect the most on." 

The poppies will be on display in Cambridge through Nov. 12. 

A volunteer is pictured hanging poppies on a light-armoured vehicle outside the armoury in Cambridge, Ont. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

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