Wreath Ceremony 2023 OnLine & In Person

On the afternoon of Saturday November 11, 2023, Vancouver Peace Poppies hosted our 8th annual “Let Peace Be Their Memorial” wreath-laying ceremony together with Vancouver Unitarians. The event was a hybrid: in person at 49th and Oak in the Vancouver Unitarian Sanctuary and online via Youtube. In addition to 16 beautiful themed wreaths hand-made from natural greenery, it included singers Fraser Union, Jim Edmondson and Earle Peach, and the Re:Sisters; also some anti-war poetry.
Six new wreaths draw attention to under-reported regional conflicts.
The ceremony was well-attended and moving.

To view the recording click on ucv.im/peace-poppies  .  Or see the Photo Album .
Download PDFs of talks: Shawn Gauthier’s Intro & Closing ; Teresa’s Keynote Talk

Last year 2022 the ceremony included an overview by MC and VPP co-founder Teresa Gagné; participatory singing with local favorites Fraser Union, Jim Edmondson and Madeleine de Little, and the Re:Sisters; also some anti-war poetry. Watch 2022 ceremony on YouTube

Volunteers placed beautiful handmade wreaths for Refugees Fleeing Conflict; Children Killed, Injured or Orphaned by War; Women Raped and Victimized in Wartime; Environmental Devastation Caused by War; Indigenous Victims Of Genocide & Cultural Destruction; and finally a hopeful wreath ‘For Peace’.

You can watch the 2021 recording at youtube.com (2h5m)

Through this annual wreath ceremony and our white lapel poppy campaign Vancouver Peace Poppies hopes to encourage Canadians to broaden their Remembrance Day focus:

  • to include the civilians who now make up 90% of conflict victims;
  • to challenge the beliefs, values and institutions that make war seem inevitable;
  • to urge our government to promote and fund effective non-military means of dispute resolution.

In 2019 on Monday November 11 we commemorated civilian victims of war, in Vancouver’s Seaforth Peace Park, with about 275 in attendance.  Our keynote speaker was Fazineh Keita of Innocence Lost Foundation .  This year the Multifaith Action Society joined BC Humanist Association as co-hosts, and we thank the many volunteers who helped with preparation – contact us to give a hand next year.

Devin Gillan recorded a video of the event on youtube (1h 25m).

After the ceremony the wreaths were located outdoors for a week at Canadian Memorial Centre for Peace, and Unitarian Church of Vancouver.

Other locations around Canada emphasized the yearning for peace.  See for example

Click on image to see our Google Photos album.

In 2018 over 200 people attended.  Our keynote speaker was Tima Kurdi of the Kurdi Foundation .  A Syrian-born resident of Coquitlam, she has been speaking around the world of the plight of Syrian and other refugees.  Her book “The Boy on the Beach” is a heartwarming and heartrending story about impossible choices forced on a happy ordinary family. Here is the audio from her talk (11 minutes mp3 6MB).

Several people asked for Teresa’s talk on “war doesn’t work” here it is (5 minutes mp3 , 3 MB).

Sachi Komura Rummel again in 2018 laid a wreath in memory of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Her memoir Hiroshima – Memories of a Survivor is available from Amazon.ca

Older Ceremony: Let Peace be Their Memorial, November 11, 2017

About 180 people joined us (despite the rain) at Seaforth Peace Park Saturday, November 11 at 2:30 pm for Let Peace be Their Memorial, Mourning Less-Recognized Victims of War, a wreath laying ceremony commemorating civilian victims of war and conflict.

The keynote speaker was Jennifer Weterings of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders Canada

This free, public, city sanctioned event was again co-hosted by Vancouver Peace Poppies and the BC Humanist Association at the south plaza of Seaforth Peace Park (Burrard @ 1st Ave) from 2:30 to 3:45pm on Remembrance Day.

Afterwards, the beautiful wreaths were moved to two outdoor locations until Thursday November 16: Canadian Memorial Centre for Peace 1825 16th Ave W. (near Burrard) (Refugees, Women, Conscientious Objectors, Medical Aid, Peace Philosophy Centre, Afghanistan, ALPHA/Nanking, Syria, Parks Board)
and to the Unitarian Church of Vancouver 949 West 49th Ave (at Oak) (Yemen, Vancouver Save Article 9, Peace Advocates, Environment, Palestine, Peace, Education, PTSD, Child Soldiers, Indigenous). The Child Soldier wreath was laid by Fazineh Keita, former child soldier from the Sierra Leone civil war. See InnocenceLostFoundation.com for their Nov 17 fundraising concert at St James Community Centre.

©2017 Maureen Olofson.
©2017 Maureen Olofson.

Please see more photos here.

©2017 Andrew Cheung
©2017 Andrew Cheung

Click here to download press release for 2017 Wreath Ceremony.

Click here for history of SeaForth Peace Park from the Vancouver Heritage Foundation.