Butterdome Remembrance Day ceremony cancelled because of COVID-19

Edmonton’s largest Remembrance Day ceremony at the Butterdome will not be held this year because of coronavirus.

 “We felt that the best thing to do was step back this year,” said John Mahon of the Royal Canadian Legion.

He said the Canadian Armed Forces wouldn't be allowed to take part, and officials felt holding the indoor ceremony was too much of a risk.

“We need to be very, very careful that we’re not putting any legion member or any member of the public, putting their health in jeopardy is counterproductive.”

Individual legion branches plan to hold smaller scale ceremonies.

“The term we like to use is no cookie cutter approach. The public in small towns need to check with their local legion to find out okay what have you arranged.”

The Kingsway branch is limiting its ceremony to 200 people.

“It’s going to be super weird. We traditionally have in this branch; we could have up to 900 people there,” said Ron Willis president of the branch.

It’s being restricted to veterans and their families.

“It’s so important that we carry on with the service and we provide a safe place for our veterans,” he said.

Wreaths will also be pre-placed for the ceremonies this year.

“When dignitaries come up all they’ll do is come up and acknowledge those fallen comrades and then they’ll go sit down again. There won’t be any touching of wreaths.”

People are encouraged to watch ceremonies from home if possible. But no matter where you are, Mahon is asking Canadians to still take time to mark November 11.

“If you can’t go to the cenotaph, at least wear a poppy, and on Remembrance Day, take that few moments to reflect about what the Canadian Armed Forces has done for our country.”