As Remembrance Day nears, ceremonies are becoming top of mind for many.
With public health restrictions still in place, Royal Canadian Legion branches in the Central Okanagan are a bit unsure of how many people they can have at the ceremony or if they can even hold them indoors.
Branch #69 Peachland’s president Jean Saul said they didn’t want to deal with the back and forth like they did last year.
The plan for the 2020 ceremony was to have it at the Community Centre with only 50 people, with the rest of the community tuning in online in an overflow room as well as from the comfort of their homes. The indoor ceremony got cancelled at the last minute and in the end, an impromptu ceremony at the cenotaph took place.
This year, Saul said she’s hoping to be one step ahead of the game by planning a small ceremony outdoors instead of relying on an indoor venue.
“This year, we’re just going to be outside and go from there,” she said.
She said the ceremony won’t necessarily be open to everyone in the community to limit COVID-19 exposure, but if people still want to go, they should wear their masks and be aware of physical distancing to keep everyone safe.
Saul said they’re still working on the other details of the ceremony, but wanted to emphasize that there will still be a ceremony at the cenotaph.
In West Kelowna, an indoor ceremony will be held at the Royal LePage Place Arena on Nov. 11. Branch #288 Westbank president Anne Fox said they’re still unsure about how many people they can let into the arena on the day of the ceremony.
She said they’re grateful to the City of West Kelowna for helping them set up the event.
“They’re doing all of the security and passport checking for us this year. So this is really only possible with the cooperation of the city,” she said.
Fox said they are still unsure about how many people they will be able to let into the 750 seat arena and are waiting on Interior Health (IH) to update local guidelines.
The City of Kelowna has confirmed that there will be no Remembrance Day parade. Last year, Branch #26 Kelowna hosted an intimate wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph, which was closed to the public and instead broadcasted for residents to watch at home.
Branch #26 did not provide a comment regarding their plans before publication, but city staff did say this year’s Nov. 11 ceremonies may be kept small and be held virtually again.
The Field of Crosses, set up annually in Kelowna’s City Park behind the cenotaph, opened on Nov. 1 and will remain up until Nov. 12. The display honours local soldiers who died serving their country.