Today is Remembrance Day. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we take time to remember those who gave their lives in various wars in the defense of our freedoms as Canadians. This blog entry is dedicated to the soldiers who died in battle and those veterans who have served their country, as well as those who are currently serving.

Remembrance Day was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth. It was originally called “Armistice Day” to commemorate armistice agreement that ended the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m. – on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Many people wear artificial poppies on their clothes in the weeks before Remembrance Day. Red poppies symbolize the memory of those who died.

On November 11, special services are organized. The proceedings most often include the playing of “The Last Post”, a reading of the fourth verse of the ‘Ode of Remembrance’, and two minutes of silence at 11 am. After the service, wreaths are laid by different individuals and groups.

While the official Canadian national ceremonies are held at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, most cities and towns across Canada hold their own Remembrance Day ceremonies at a local war memorial or cenotaph.

The Toronto Star Building where our office space is located, has its own Remembrance Day service in the main-floor lobby. This is where many of our office tenants go to observe if they are not able to make it to the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Old City Hall Cenotaph.

Remembrance Day is not a statutory holiday in Ontario, though it is in many other provinces. While most businesses and services remain open, some are closed or observe irregular hours. Most banks and government offices are closed today – including federal, provincial, municipal and post offices. The “Toronto” sign in front of city hall will be lit red for Remembrance Day.