Volunteers with the Victoria Remembrance Day Committee Poppy Fund (from left) Holly McKay, Astrid Dodge, Angus Stanfield, Lorraine Hill and De Morris, sort ribbons that will go on the memorial wreaths to be laid at the legislature cenotaph on Nov. 11. Committee volunteers, up to 300 of them, look after everything related to poppies around this time of year. This poppy fund raises about $200,000 per year for local projects and programs relating to veterans. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Victoria poppy fund volunteers gearing up for big day Nov. 11

Remembrance Day campaign helps veterans and their families all year

A group of people are busy behind the scenes at the Trafalgar/Pro Patria Branch 292 of the Royal Canadian Legion on Gorge Road.

Volunteers with the Victoria Remembrance Day Committee Poppy Fund, they’re preparing more poppy boxes, organizing ribbons for the wreaths to be placed at the legislature cenotaph on Nov. 11 and counting money and writing receipts for people who have mailed in donations to the cause.

Money collected through this annual campaign, usually in the neighbourhood of $200,000 and steadily rising, says volunteer and Poppy Fund spokesperson Angus Stanfield, go to local programs benefiting Canadian veterans and their families.

“There will be over 20 million poppies distributed this year in Canada,” he said.

He noted that approximately $19 million was distributed nationally in 2015 to veterans, their families and various programs.

Here at home, the larger grants given in 2017 with proceeds from the Poppy Fund included $25,000 for the Legion Manor retirement complex in Central Saanich, $20,000 for Broadmead Care in Royal Oak, up to $20,000 for Cockrell House in Colwood and an equal amount for the Veterans Transition Program, which helps veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder get back into the workforce.

The iconic poppy boxes are a fixture on the front counters of numerous businesses around town. Combined with cash collected from volunteers offering poppies by donation at high-profile locations like liquor stores or shopping malls, it accounts for about half of the total revenue from the program, with mailed-in donations accounting for the remainder, Stanfield said.

With the veterans who kept the Legions going strong in years past gradually passing on, many of the estimated 300 volunteers who help out this campaign, such as Stanfield, have different connections to the military.

His grandfather was a piper in the First World War and suffered from what is today called PTSD, and his father sailed on a corvette in the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War. Stanfield, who proudly plays his grandfather’s 102-year-old bagpipes today, serves various roles provincially and nationally with the Legion and said volunteering to help veterans just came naturally.

“I think this time of year is for everybody to remember how lucky we are; there’s a reason why we live in the best country in the world. There’s a lot of people who paid an awful price for it,” he said. “When my grandfather came home from the First World War, he’d been gassed for one thing, but he was severely traumatized …grandpa had demons, he would get nightmares.”

The focus on veterans and the role they played for Canada culminates in Remembrance Day ceremonies Nov. 11 in Victoria and around the Capital Region. Stanfield said the services remain an important way to bring communities together.

“At our cenotaphs right across the country, the turnout, it seems to be growing again every year. Afghanistan really brought it to the forefront,” he said, noting that more people today are closely connected with people with wartime or battle experience. “We certainly don’t glorify war or anything like that, the absolute opposite, but we do honour the people that served.”

For more information or to volunteer with the Victoria Remembrance Day Committee Poppy Fund, call 250-386-2533 or drop by the Pro Patria Legion at 411 Gorge Rd. E.



Victoria Remembrance Day Committee Poppy Fund treasurer Florence Dumont and volunteer Hank Lowe keep busy at this time of year counting donations and mailing out receipts to donors. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Just Posted

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in Victoria

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

Public packs Victoria mosque during B.C.’s Open Mosque Day

‘The best way to deal with fear is to educate. That’s what we are trying to do here’

Vancouver Island First Nations Youth Ambassadors deliver message to the United Nations

The delegation appeared at an event celebrating ‘the rich tapestry of global cultural diversity’

Turning pro on the Island

Pacific FC’s Brad Norris-Jones talks about his journey to pro sports in Victoria

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

B.C. VIEWS: Power politics wins over rational energy policy

B.C Hydro continues to face interference on rates

PR firm suspends contract with former B.C. premier amid groping accusation

Edelman says in a statement that Campbell has served as a special adviser to the firm since last July

Most Read