Remembrance Day Canada 2016

In 2016 Remembrance Day is Friday, November 11.

On remembrance day members of the armed forces (soldiers, sailors and airmen) are commemorated. The other common name for this day is Armistice Day which marks the date and time when armies stopped fighting World War I. on November 11th at 11am in 1918 (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month). Some 100,000 Canadian soldiers died in the First and Second World Wars.

In Canada, Remembrance Day is a federal statutory holiday - with a notable exception of NS, NWT, ON and QC - as it is in many other countries in the world where this day is observed on the national level.

All government buildings fly the Canadian flag this day and people remember those who fought for Canada during a two minute silence at 11am. Many people wear poppies before and on Remembrance Day to show their respect and support for Canadian troops. Poppies are generally handed out free but often a voluntary donation is given in exchange.

In the United States this day is called Veteran's Day and is also observed on November 11.

Should Remembrance Day be a stat holiday in every province?

We continue to receive lots of messages from people all over the country who are outraged why Remembrance Day is not a stat holiday everywhere in Canada. Indeed, it would make sense to make this a stat holiday in every province and territory - even in Ontario. But not everyone agrees. Send us your thoughts about this issue in the comment area near the bottom of this page.

Recently we received a comment from Jason and would like to post it on this page because we think that Jason makes a very good point in his message:

"Please DO NOT make Remembrance Day a statutory holiday in Ontario. Family Day is a much more appreciated break for families in the heart of the long cold depressing winter. Remembrance Day is better observered in a ceremony at your school, community centre or place of work."

Could this be true? What would most people do with another day off work? Sleep in, watch TV, play video games or celebrate our war heroes? Compare to Thanksgiving Day when most people cook a turkey and drink lots of beer instead of being genuinely grateful about anything.

Bill C-597 aims to make Remembrance Day a national legal holiday. It received third reading before the pariament's summer break. Even if the bill passes it would be up to the provinces to decide what days are statutory holidays. It's an often overlooked and little know fact that the Royal Canadian Legion does not endorse the bill out of concern that Canadians would not take time off to remember and would treat a day off as a holiday. They want the kids in school - so they can talk about it and learn about it - not sit at home and know nothing about it. It's about respecting the veterns and teaching about them not having a day off to do nothing.

If an organized observance was held at schools and workplaces people would be much more likely to spend time participating and keeping the importance of Remembrance Day top of mind, won't they?

Perhaphs we, as a nation, will never come to a concensus and agree that Remembrance Day should or should not be a holiday in every province but we should at the very least agree to the comments of a self-identified "Angry Canadian Preteen" who proposes that we spend more time preventing future atrocities and less time looking back: Let's use Remembrance Day as a reminder to all of us that for the remaining 364 days we need to focus our discussion and actions to ensure that future generations won't have to fight in wars at all.

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Send us your thoughts, comments and ideas about Remembrance Day in Canada. What should and should't be done on this day? How best to pay respect to current and past members of the armed forces?

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Recent comments
Posted by Annabelle Moore:

With respect to the Legion's position, as someone else said, it is up to families and individuals to decide how to use their free day. School assemblies on November 10 would honour our fallen as well as those harmed by battle, both physically and mentally. The Calgary Board of Ed when our children were in school there used to put on wise and sensitive services, that remembered the victims of the wars on both sides, Allied and Axis. There are really no winners and losers. Canadian servicemen and women are renowned worldwide for their high calibre and professionalism. Americans honour their fallen; we need to do the same. We are too modest about our achievements. Countries, when it comes to looking at national unity issues, would do well to get together to offer their gratitude to the people and their descendants who gave the ultimate sacrifice. WWII veterans in the UK have mentioned that when they returned from the war they felt more equal than they ever had before - the old class system was meaningless to them. They then wanted to become part of rebuilding the nation with adequate safeguards to prevent future wars. These feelings change over the years as we all get influenced by politics and the media - thus an annual reality check is a great idea.

Posted by Proud Canadian:

We absolutely MUST have Remembrance day as a holiday in Ontario. It is a crime not taking this day to honour our fallen men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we may remain free. Posted by Traditionalist: "They will sleep in and get drunk and not show proper respect for our war dead." Excuse me? Rather than paint everyone with the same brush stroke, perhaps you should take the time to rethink just what freedom means. In China and North Korea they are forced to work hard BECAUSE they do not have individual freedoms as we do here in Canada. What we choose to do with OUR freedom is just that. Whether we visit a legion to talk to a veteran, attend a Remembrance day event, or even stay home to drink a beer, THIS is what our hard fought for freedom is FOR. There is no greater honour to bestow upon the fallen than to celebrate our freedom however we choose to. THAT is freedom. Please make Remembrance day a national holiday, especially in Ontario. It is overdue and would be very appropriate. Thank you and God bless.

Posted by Traditionalist:

This absolutely should NOT be a public holiday. People today are so ignorant that they cannot distinguish between a holiday, which is festive, and a day of remembrance, which is commemorative and mournful. The way to honour (not 'honor') our war dead and our veterans is not to take the day off and sleep in but to work all the harder in thanksgiving for their sacrifice. In this way, we make a sacrifice ourselves to honour their sacrifice for our freedom. Make this day a holiday and too many people will 'celebrate'. They will 'party'. Bring out the balloons and the fireworks! They will sleep in and get drunk and not show proper respect for our war dead. Too many people want a holiday at this time simply to fill in a gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And what happens when 11th November occurs on a Sunday? Do we all get the 12th off and yet the cenotaph is approached on the 11th as usual? It cheapens the day. There should be three minutes of silence in which everyone stops work and stands at attention to honour our fallen heroes. What is the effect if this is done at home? There is then no sense of communal respect. If 11th December is not a public holiday, in five years out of seven, most people will honour the war dead and the veterans together as we should. In addition, when a military parade marches by, we are supposed to stand at attention to show respect to their fallen comrades. We should not clap. It is not a circus or a ball game. It is a moment to show respect in silence. It is the moment for the dead to speak to us. Traditionalist

Anonymous:

I sit here and watch the Memorial Day celebrations in the U.S. and wonder why we do not treat our Military with the same honor. If it were not for them we would not be enjoying the freedoms we have. How selfish are we????

Anonymous:

I am a 6th generation canadian and I do not know why all canadians do not get this holiday it wasnt just a few provinces that fouhgt in the war, it is an insult to the rest of Canada

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