Remembrance Day Poppy

Remembrance Day

November 11

Canadian War Museum
1 Vimy Place
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0M8
Tel. (819) 776-8600
toll-free 1-800-555-5621

Armistice Day linked with Thanksgiving Day

Remembrance Day ceremonies at the cenotaphCanadians commemorated Armistice Day in 1920 the same way as in 1919. However, MP H.M. Mowat, of Toronto again brought a proposal before the House of Commons for a special annual Armistice Day to be held on the Monday of the week in which November 11 fell. This was to be joined with Thanksgiving Day, until then a floating holiday held at the government's discretion. Parliament finally passed this proposal, in the form of the Armistice Day Act, in May 1921.

Creating a single new holiday on a long weekend responded primarily to the wishes of the business community, but it proved unpopular with veterans and the public at large. A day for celebrating the "bountiful harvest," Thanksgiving normally included sports and other amusements associated with a festive occasion. Armistice Day, on the other hand, was a time of commemoration and meditation, characterized by solemn ceremonies at cenotaphs.

Signs of trouble were evident as early as November 7, 1921, the very first occasion that the two events were held together. The front page of the Toronto Globe, for example, announced that the rector of the Anglican Church in Smith's Falls, Ontario, had openly criticized the government for attempting to combine the two events and intimated that "in his church each would be observed by itself." An official of the local Great War Veterans' Association proclaimed "henceforth veterans here would observe only November 11 as Armistice Day."

Canadian War Cemetery - Remembrance Day, November 11, Photo: Serge Durflinger