Toronto marks Remembrance Day with service at Old City Hall cenotaph

Toronto held its annual Remembrance Day service at the Old City Hall cenotaph this morning, honouring veterans of past conflicts and current members of the armed forces.

Thousands gathered ‘on this snowy November day’ to remember those who served

Toronto held its annual Remembrance Day service at the Old City Hall cenotaph this morning. (CBC)

Toronto held its annual Remembrance Day service at the Old City Hall cenotaph this morning, honouring veterans who served in the World Wars, the Korean War, Afghanistan and on peacekeeping missions around the world.

The ceremony also honoured current members of the armed forces who call Toronto home. 

Mayor John Tory thanked the thousands who gathered "on this snowy November day," to remember those "who served our country in war."

"This morning, we take the time to pause and to remember the commitment and the sacrifice of all those who supported Canadian military efforts from the front lines, to the home front," Tory said.

"These service people gave, and continue to give their today for our tomorrow. We owe it to those who fought on D-Day and throughout the Second World War, and all wars, to make sure that they are never forgotten."

Tory said today is also an opportunity to think of those who gave their lives in Korea and Afghanistan, and to honour their courage and sacrifice.

"We remember them and we will always remember them as we think of those who served with them and returned home to Canada, many with physical and psychological scars as a consequence of their service for us," he said.

"We must continue to support them and offer them opportunity, just as they served us with loyalty and determination. They deserve no less."

'We owe it to those who fought ... in all wars, to make sure they are never forgotten," Tory said at Toronto's annual Remembrance Day service. (CBC)

Tory later laid the first wreath at the cenotaph.

The Commitment to Remember was read in English and Oji-Cree by Levi Samson Beardy, while Danielle-Mara Dunn, a Grade 9 student at École secondaire catholique Saint-Frère-André, read in French.

"They were young, as we are young, they served, giving freely of themselves. To them, we pledge, amid the winds of time, to carry their torch and never forget. We will remember them."

At 11 a.m., the TTC paused service for two minutes. Current and former members of the armed forces are permitted to ride for free throughout the day.

'The ultimate sacrifice'

Earlier on Monday, a service was held at a cemetery in Toronto's west end where fallen soldiers were buried more than 100 years ago.

Cmdr. Walter Moniz, commanding officer of HMCS York, said the service continues to grow every year, and "it's heartening to see Canadians of all stripes supporting veterans."

"We're very fortunate to stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, many of them sadly paying the ultimate sacrifice," he told CBC Toronto.

Cmdr. Walter Moniz, commanding officer of HMCS York. (CBC)

Moniz said today is an opportunity for him to reflect on the men and women who are under his command, noting that some of them are currently deployed all over the world.

"I think about them and their families that support them."

Moniz said he also thought about Cpl. Jamie Murphy, the first person from Newfoundland and Labrador to be killed in the Afghanistan conflict. Moniz knew him personally.

Murphy, who was from Conception Harbour, died near Kabul on Jan. 27, 2004, when a suicide bomber reportedly jumped on one of two jeeps carrying six Canadian soldiers on patrol.

A service was held at Prospect Cemetery where fallen soldiers were buried more than 100 years ago. (Kate McGillivray/CBC)

With files from Linda Ward


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