Remembrance Day is observed annually on November 11. This day is a time for all Canadians and residents in Canada to pause and remember the men and women who served, and continue to serve, the country during times of war, conflict and peace.

Since 1914, more than 2.3 million Canadians have served the country and more than 118,000 sacrificed their lives in the First World War, Second World War, Korean War and many other military operations and peace efforts.

These wars have had lasting impacts on Canadians of all ages, especially for those who have lost loved ones or are forced to live with the physical and mental scars of war.

The history of Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth. The day was originally called Armistice Day to commemorate the armistice agreement that ended the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918 at 11 am.

From 1921 to 1930, Armistice Day was held on the second Monday in November.

In 1931, Alan Webster Neill, Member of Parliament for Comox–Alberni, introduced a bill to observe Armistice Day only on November 11. The bill was passed by the House of Commons and the name was changed to Remembrance Day.

The first official Remembrance Day was observed on November 11, 1931.

Today, Remembrance Day in Canada is recognized as a federal statutory holiday. It is also a statutory holiday in six provinces and three territories, including British Columbia, Alberta, Prince Edward Island and Nunavut.

The importance of Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day is significant because it honours the sacrifice of those who gave their lives for peace.

This day is a time to remember and not take for granted the freedoms Canadians enjoy today because of their sacrifice.

The moment of silence during a Remembrance Day ceremony at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month is a time to pause and show respect to those who lost their lives for the well-being and freedom of Canadians and the country.

The meaning of the poppy

The red poppy is a visual pledge to honour Canada’s veterans. The poppy symbolizes Remembrance Day and is one way to signify that we remember and honour the sacrifices made by all those who served and continue to serve for today’s freedom.

While poppies are distributed freely to all who wish to wear one, the Legion, Canada’s largest veteran support and community service organization and the association behind the Poppy Campaign, gratefully accepts donations to the Poppy Fund. Donations to the fund provide financial assistance and support to veterans, including Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP, and their families who are in need.

A full list of where to find poppies at local Poppy Campaign partners for Canada’s Remembrance Day can be found on the Legion’s website.

Remembrance Day resources

A number of free educational resources are available to learn more about Remembrance Day, Canada and the sacrifices made by those who served.

Published on November 10, 2022.