'A lot of people don't carry cash anymore': More tap pay tribute boxes make it easier to buy poppy pins this year

A tap pay tribute box located at The Bay Centre in downtown Victoria is shown: (CTV News)

The poppy campaign to support Canadian veterans is in full swing this year, with poppy shelves being restocked at Victoria's Trafalgar/Pro Patria Legion Branch 292.

 "We’re up and running," said Angus Stanfield, chairman of the Victoria Remembrance Day Committee Poppy Fund. "We’re in all of the malls."

At The Bay Centre in downtown Victoria, poppy purchases have been steady.

"I was stunned yesterday," said Chris Coleman, a Legion volunteer. "It was a very good day."

This year, buying one of those poppies just got a lot easier with the expansion of tap pay tribute boxes.

"I think it’s going to help," said Stanfield. "A lot of people don’t carry cash anymore."

Last year, those boxes were part of a pilot project, with only 250 in use across Canada. This year, there are 2,000 tap pay tribute boxes, and Victoria has 10 of them.

"I like the tap system," said Mary McCallum who purchased a poppy Tuesday. "Especially now with COVID."

Other donators at the Bay Centre seemed to agree.

"I tapped my card, it was unbelievably easy," said Elizabeth Colin who just used the tap pay box for the first time. "What was really nice is that I can actually give more than what I used to give, which was always just the change in my pocket."

There is an option to make donations of $2, $5, or $10. All the money raised goes to support the Legion's veteran support programs, including the Cockrell House in Colwood that houses homeless veterans.

"There shouldn’t be a homeless veteran in Canada," said Stanfield. "There just shouldn’t."

Last year the pandemic forced most Remembrance Day ceremonies across the country to go virtual.

This year, it looks like in-person events will be coming back, though scaled back.

"We will be having our ceremony this year," said Barb Desjardins, Mayor of Esquimalt. "We expect it will be smaller, it is outdoors and there will be spacing."

Nanaimo will be going ahead with its ceremony as well, but with no parade and the wreaths will be pre-laid.

Victoria’s ceremony is also a go, but scaled back, just like last year.

"We don’t want to see a whole bunch of people huddled together, but they have the right to be there," said Stanfield.

Regardless of if you are planning on attending a ceremony or not, the Legion is encouraging you to buy a poppy.

"We’d love to see every Canadian have a poppy on, on November 11th," said Stanfield.