Toronto's Ritz-Carlton now says poppies OK

One day after sending a letter to employees asking them not to wear the Remembrance Day poppy, Toronto's Ritz-Carlton Hotel has reversed itself and will now allow the practice.

Toronto's Ritz-Carlton Hotel has reversed itself and will now permit staff to wear poppies.

Until Wednesday, when CBC News began asking about its corporate policy regarding the traditional Remembrance Day symbol, the Ritz didn't allow them.

In a letter dated Nov. 8 — and obtained by CBC news — the hotel told its staff "the use of visual symbols to support causes (e.g. Ribbon, flag, pin Live your life braces etc) does not conform to our Corporate Standards for Professional Appearance."

The letter sent by the hotel's general manager Tim Terceira, says "we are sympathetic to the many different and good causes available," but he advises staff to "find alternative ways to support these campaigns such as wearing poppies on your coat when coming and leaving work .."

In the letter, the Ritz also equates the poppy to the moustaches some men grow during the month of November in support of prostate cancer research.

"The challenge is that there are so many causes that to permit some and not others would lead to perceived discrimination toward certain causes," Terceira writes.

Mike Tuira, who works in the office tower next door said he doesn't believe the poppy should be lumped into "the same category" as the 'Movember Moustache.' 

"There's a reason we have a moment and a day to celebrate this — and it's the least that we can do," he said.

Hotel staff said some employees were upset by the order.

By late afternoon, employees said the policy had been reversed and staff were seen sporting poppies on their lapels outside the Wellington Street West entrance to the hotel.

CBC News asked the Ritz-Carlton to comment on the contents of the letter.

In an email statement to CBC News received late in the day the company's senior coproate director of public affairs wrote that "at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, the decision was made to permit the display of a poppy signifying Remembrance Day' but the company refused any further comment.