Poppies from the First World War tour country as symbol of hope, resilience


Dried and pressed flowers that were sent home during the First World War are touring the country as part of an exhibit called War Flowers.

Lieutenant-colonel George Stephen Cantlie enlisted in 1915 when was 48 and then went off to fight in Belgium and France.

During the war, he sent letters with the flowers home to his family while he served as the first commander of the 42nd Battalion of the Royal Highlanders of Canada.

The flowers included poppies from Flanders Fields as well as yellow and pink roses, lavender and daisies.

His great-granddaughter Heather Campbell says the flowers show he was able to find beauty, resilience and hope amid the horrors of war.

War Flowers is at the Chateau Ramezay Historic Site and Museum of Montreal until early January before the exhibit moves to Edmonton.

Exhibit curator Viveka Melki says she was touched by the simplicity of the letters to Cantlie's baby daughter because he writes what's essential, ``I love you.''

Even in the darkest times, she says he sent the letters to his daughter as a symbol of beauty amongst the darkness.