Every year on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month we take time to reflect and pay respects to all the brave soldiers that fought for our country. Remembrance Day can be a good opportunity for caregivers to take seniors out for some activity, and maybe even learn some Canadian history in the process.
Ottawa is a great place to take advantage of some of the many activities and events dedicated to the sacrifices and memories of our nation’s veterans. There are events occurring on November 11th, as well as in the days leading up to Remembrance Day.
Remembrance Activities for Seniors in Ottawa
There are things to do for all ages as November 11th approaches, and older adults can find something of interest to get involved in for this patriotic event. Some possible activities to check out in Ottawa, may include:
- Parliament Hill virtual poppy drop
- Canadian Aviation and Space Museum
- Bytown Museum
- National War Memorial
- Canadian War Museum
- Beechwood Cemetery
- Lieutenant-Colonel John McRae Statue
- Poems, stories, and songs
- Arts & crafts
Parliament Hill Virtual Poppy Drop
This event occurs every evening on Parliament Hill from October 25th until November 11th. From 6:30 to 9:30 PM (and until midnight on Remembrance Day) 117,000 cascading poppies will be illuminated on the Peace Tower and Centre Block. This number is not chosen randomly, each of the 117,000 poppies represents one Canadian soldier lost in war.
Canadian Aviation and Space Museum
Remembrance programming will be running at this museum from November 2nd until the 11th, and will include a performance by a special military band, plus many activities to choose from and educational guided tours.
This museum will be running a Veteran Affairs Canada Postcards for Peace program to commemorate veterans that have served for our country. You will have the opportunity to contribute by writing a postcard for a veteran or designing a poppy to add to the collective wreath of remembrance.
National War Memorial
This is the location where the big National Remembrance Day Ceremony is held, right in downtown Ottawa, from 9:00am to 12:00pm on November 11th. The ceremony kicks off with the Virtual Wall of Honour and Remembrance, which displays thousands of images of fallen veterans.
This is followed by the Veterans Day Parade, that starts at Parliament Hill and makes its way to the National War Memorial. Other features include a visit by the Prime Minister, the playing of the national anthem, a wreath laying ceremony, 2 minutes of silence, and a fly by. Each year, thousands of people gather to pay respects, and lay their poppies on the soldiers’ tomb.
Canadian War Museum
The Canadian War Museum is an excellent tribute to Canada’s military history, where citizens can learn more about veteran sacrifices. On November 11th, Memorial Hall, which is located just inside the museum, will feature a 11:00am event that displays a beam of sunlight shining in from a single window to frame the headstone perfectly.
Another Ceremony of Remembrance will be taking place at the National Military Cemetery, which is located on the Beechwood Cemetery grounds. The ceremony runs from 10:30am to 12:00pm to honour those that died in Canadian service, and the Canadian military troops buried there. There is also a veteran’s march and band.
Lieutenant-Colonel John McRae Statue
This statue is a good location to visit on Remembrance Day, situated beside the National Artillery Memorial. John McRae is the author of the classic Remembrance Day poem “In Flanders Fields”. He served in WW1 and wrote the poem during the Second Battle of Ypres, in Belgium.
Poems, Stories, and Songs
In addition to going out and participating in activities and events for Remembrance Day, there are also some things to do at home to commemorate the day. Reading poems like “In Flanders Fields” is a good option to get in the spirit of the day, along with many other Remembrance Day poems, books, and stories to choose from.
Music is another good possibility, that can include listening to Remembrance Day songs, singing, or playing instruments.
Arts & Crafts
Designing poppies, wreaths, or monuments is a fun activity for creative types. Homemade poppies can also be placed on the tomb at the National War memorial.
The days leading up November 11th can be a great time of year to volunteer your time to help veterans and soldiers in need. Seniors can volunteer their time at the local legion or support another community Remembrance Day event.