Banners of Remembrance now hanging across P.E.I.

A growing number of P.E.I. communities are using public displays, especially banners, to mark Remembrance Day and share the story of Canadian veterans.

'We thought that this would be the best way to engage the public without having to go into a museum'

One side of this Charlottetown banner features the image of the Victoria Cross winner, the other side is the medal itself. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

A growing number of P.E.I. communities are using public displays, especially banners, to mark Remembrance Day and share the story of Canadian veterans.

Here are some of the communities around the Island that are participating — and the stories they're sharing.

Stratford brings two new banners in for 11th year

The banners are on display at Stratford Town Hall. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

Stratford, P.E.I., first created posters featuring veterans from the area in 2006, the first year the town hosted its own Remembrance Day ceremony. 

The banners were the brainchild of the Stratford heritage committee, who were working on a cenotaph for the town. They call it the heroes project.

This is the 11th year that the posters have been put up on bus shelters in the town of Stratford. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

For Stratford mayor David Dunphy, looking at the posters hits close to home.

"There are many people on those posters who I've known personally over the years that are not here today," he said.

"I'm so happy that many people who are recognized and honoured on those posters have had an opportunity to see the poster up while they're alive.

There are now 39 banners in total in the Stratford collection. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

There are now 39 banners featuring veterans from the community, including two new ones for 2016. 

Florence Mutch and Major James "Jim" Ayres are the new additions.

This banner of Florence Mutch is one of two new ones for 2016. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

Florence Mutch was a nursing sister, who served with the Canadian Army Medical Corps.

She grew up in Lot 48 (Southport) and was born at the Mutch property — the former brickhouse as it was known locally.

She worked throughout England and France during the war but was discharged in 1919 due to illness. She married a doctor and lived in Ontario with him until she died, still young, in 1925. 

Major Jim Ayers is one of two new veterans being featured in 2016. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

Major James "Jim" Ayres is a veteran of the Second World War and Korean War.

He was in the Royal Canadian Navy between 1943 and 1946, and served as a telegraphist on ships at sea. He served on United Nations Peace Keeping Missions and retired from the Department of National Defence in 1992 after 43 years of service.

The banners are also on display at the Stratford Town Centre as part of the annual Remembrance Day ceremony.

Charlottetown honours Victoria Cross recipients

A set of 13 banners was given last year to capital cities across Canada. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

Charlottetown has 13 banners on display as part of the Toll of War street banner campaign, launched in 2015.

Designed for capital cities across the country, the banners honour 10 Canadian recipients of the Victoria Cross, the Commonwealth's highest military honour for bravery in action.

Charlottetown was one of the first capital cities to hang the new banners featuring 10 Victoria Cross recipients from across Canada. (Submitted by Gregg Centre)

"We wanted to have them present in public places so that people could see them, in a casual way just by walking down the streets of the various cities where they are hanging," explained Brent Wilson, of Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society at the University of New Brunswick, who created the banners.

"We thought that this would be the best way to engage the public without having to go into a museum."

There is one banner for each province, with a generic one for the territories who do not have a Victoria Cross soldier. 

The P.E.I. banner features Captain Frederick Thornton Peters, the Island's only recipient of the Victoria Cross. (Submitted by Gregg Centre )

The P.E.I. banner features Captain Frederick Thornton Peters, the Island's recipient of the Victoria Cross. He was born in Charlottetown in 1889, though his family left for B.C. while he was very young.

He has deep Island connections, including his grandfather, a father of Confederation, Colonel John Hamilton Gray. 

The banners also feature the address of a companion website, which includes images and profiles of all of Canada's Victoria Cross recipients.

"We were hoping that they would become interested, and stop to look at them, and then go to the website and find out more," added Wilson.

Cardigan honours local veterans from WWI and WWII

In 2012, Mike Currie approached the Cardigan Heritage Centre and local branch of the Legion with the idea of creating banners featuring veterans from the area. There were once 300 veterans of the World Wars in the Cardigan area, and all have now passed away. 

On November 11th, the banners are taken down and carried by family members in to the local Remembrance Day ceremony. (Submitted by Mike Currie)

Families of veterans were invited to select a photo and purchase a banner to be displayed in the community.

In the days leading up to Remembrance Day, the banners hang on mounted posts on the bridge, then family members bring them to the local ceremony on Nov. 11. 

The banner campaign strikes a personal chord for Mike Currie. Francis Shepherd, featured in this photo, is his wife`s father. (Submitted by Mike Currie)

The faces on the banners tell a story.

"Just how young they were when they left, 16 years old, they left their country to serve and a lot of them made the ultimate sacrifice and never were lucky enough to come home," said Currie.

The veteran banners in Cardigan hang on posts on the bridge. (Submitted by Mike Currie)

He believes the banners help people connect to the stories of war.

"It's interesting to see there's even more people come to the services now than there used to be 25 years ago, and I think it's nice to see the youth be able to identify who these veterans were and what contribution they made," added Currie.

There are now 20 banners, with plans to add more every year.

Georgetown mayor has special connection to banner

The Town of Georgetown offers families the opportunity to purchase banners and submit photos to be featured on them. (Submitted by the Town of Georgetown)

Georgetown has been hanging veteran banners since 2013.  As in Cardigan, families are able to purchase a banner and submit a photo to be featured.

There are now 12 banners, including one created by Georgetown Mayor Lewis Lavandier, whose father served in the Air Force in the Second World War.

Souris hangs banners for first time

The Town of Souris is hanging Remembrance Day banners for the first time. They feature the captions "We Remember" on one side, "N'oublions jamais" on the other. 

This is the first year for these remembrance banners in Souris, P.E.I. (Facebook)

If your community has created a public way of recognizing veterans or Remembrance Day, send us your photos.

About the Author

Nancy Russell has been a reporter with CBC since 1987, in Whitehorse, Winnipeg, Toronto and Charlottetown. When not on the job, she spends her time on the water rowing, travelling to Kenya or walking her dog.