A familiar part of public life is returning to the streets of Sidney, albeit in a revised form with what organizers call a static Remembrance Day parade.
The Nov. 11 parade will take place in front of Sidney’s Cenotaph on Sidney Avenue in front of municipal hall, with the service itself starting at 10:45 a.m. leading up to two minutes of silence at 11 a.m.
Richard Coles, chair of the honours and awards committee with the Royal Canadian Legion Saanich Peninsula Branch 37, said the parade will feature about 100 participants subject to COVID-19 protocols. Participants will wear masks and space themselves appropriately, he said. “We will do what is right given the public health orders,” he said.
This year’s ceremony will include a standard wreath-laying in the front of the Cenotaph along with other familiar rites. Last year, Mary Winspear hosted a scaled-down indoor ceremony, after public health regulations had grounded the parade, which has historically drawn thousands to the streets of Sidney. As such, Remembrance Day 2021 marks a qualified but ultimately incomplete return to the past.
While organizers were initially optimistic when planning for this year’s parade started, they had to scale its scope back as COVID-19 cases were rising in the fall, said Coles
“The important thing is that there is a Remembrance Day ceremony,” he said.
Val Noyes, Legion secretary, past president and chair of the poppy and Remembrance committee, also welcomed the return of the parade, even if it is modified.
“People were expecting something this year,” he said.
Coles said the Legion is encouraging people to participate in the parade by following the live stream, available through the Mary Winspear Centre’s website.
“Remembrance Day is a personal thing,” he said. “It’s a different thing for different individuals and we have to respect that.”
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