Remembrance Day Services in London scaled back due to the pandemic

Remembrance Day in London is going to look and feel a lot different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event will be by invitation-only and the public will be discouraged from attending

Remembrance Day services in London will be by invitation-only this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The public is being discouraged from attending. (Travis Dolynny/CBC)

Remembrance Day in London is going to look and feel a lot different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual ceremony in Victoria Park on November 11 will go on, but participation will be by invitation only. There will be no marching parade and spectators will be discouraged from attending.

Even members of the Cadet and Junior Rangers, who would normally participate, have been uninvited because of the health restrictions, according to the London Remembrance Day Committee.

"Many of our veterans are in the demographic most at risk in the current pandemic," says a statement issued by the committee.

The public will be encouraged to participate from a distance by:

  • Watching the ceremony via live stream (Rogers TV and CTV London will provide the feeds)
  • Standing outside of your home or business to publicly observe two minutes of silence
  • Wearing a poppy

Members of the public can also lay a wreath at the Cenotaph between noon and 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 10; between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 11; or after 1 p.m. following the Remembrance ceremony.

Earlier this week, London mayor Ed Holder urged residents to buy a poppy as a sign of respect for the sacrifices made by Canada's veterans.

"I think about the determination and resilience exemplified by those brave women and men. Because of their efforts few, if any of us, are forced to endure what they endured," said Holder.

Last year, Londoners raised $220,000 to help support local veterans. and Holder hopes this year the community can top that amount.

Many branches of the Royal Canadian Legion are struggling because physical distancing rules have stripped the clubs of their ability to generate much-needed cash, with events like dances, dart leagues and bingo either eliminated completely, or held in such limited fashion that they often lose money.

While some branches are facing economic hardship, others may have to close permanently.

The Royal Canadian Legion is using new ways to generate revenue for services it provides for veterans. Its online store sells poppy-imprinted water bottles and cell phone cases, among many other novelty items. (The Poppy Store)

Meanwhile the Legion is using novel ways to generate revenue. Its online poppy store is selling a range of items from poppy solar lights for gardens to poppy-imprinted cell phone cases and water bottles. There are even poppy-stud earrings, and watches featuring a miniature poppy and the words "Lest we Forget."

The Legion says the store helps to fund remembrance and its poppy campaign. Proceeds go to provide services for veterans and their families in need.