By MICHAELA RITCHIE and SILVIA PIKAL
November 11 marks the advent of a time-honoured tradition of reverence and memoriam for people all across Canada, and the world. Our city’s veterans and military personnel host a swath of fine services, concerts, and parades to pay their respects and memorialize their fellow Canadian troops. If you’re looking for the perfect way to remember our fallen soldiers and give thanks for the freedoms you enjoy because of their sacrifice, here is our guide to some of Calgary’s most popular Remembrance Day gatherings.
Field of Crosses
Over 3400 crosses line Memorial Drive, row on row, from November 1-11 each year, each memorializing the name and regiment of a Southern Alberta soldier who paid the ultimate price for our freedom in the line of duty. Each day that the crosses stand guard on the hill, a sunrise and sunset ceremony, complete with bugling and speeches, is conducted to accompany the raising and lowering of the flags. The ceremonies culminate in a Remembrance Day memorial service at 10:30 am on November 11. The general public is invited to attend any of the free ceremonies, or come walk among the crosses at their leisure whenever they can over their 11 days on duty.
Sunnyside Bank Park, 200 Memorial Drive NW, www.fieldofcrosses.com
The Hangar Flight Museum
Every year the Hangar Flight Museum holds an outdoor ceremony for Remembrance Day. Arrive by 10:15 am; ceremony starts at 10:30 am. The museum is accepting donations to the Veterans Food Bank. Stay afterwards to tour the exhibits at the museum—admission is by donation on November 11.
The Hangar Flight Museum, 4629 McCall Way NE, www.thehangarmuseum.ca
The Military Museums
After a traditional memorial service to be held at 10:30 am, The Military Museums will be open to the public free of admission, with many veterans in attendance to share their stories. Non-perishable food item donations are encouraged.
The Military Museums, 4520 Crowchild Trail SW, 403-410-2340, www.themilitarymuseums.ca
Central Memorial Park
Pay your respects as the Calgary Highlanders infantry regiment march along 4th St SW. A free memorial ceremony is to follow, held at the Cenotaph in the heart of the park. The Highlanders can be found at many ceremonies across the city, committed to honouring those communities who contributed men to the Tenth Battalion and the Highlanders in times of war.
Central Memorial Park, 1221 2 St. SW, www.calgaryhighlanders.com
Batallion Park Ceremony
Speeches, a public address, wreath laying ceremony and performances of traditional songs and poetry are among the agenda of this memorial. The King’s Own Calgary Regiment are slated to march beginning at 10:30 am. Event is free and open to the public.
Battalion Park, 3001 Signal Hill Dr. SW, www.kingsown.ca
Discover the heartbreaking truths of war-time reality through a tale of fiction, following along on tail gunner pilot Hank Dunfield’s heroic journey to find peace after a life lived on the front lines. Presented by Lunchbox Theatre Oct 23 to Nov 11, the time to see the world premiere staging of this play is now. Admission is free to all veterans and military personnel. Donation of a non-perishable food item to the Veterans Food Bank is encouraged. Visit Lunchbox Theatre online or call the box office at 403-265-4292 for tickets.
Lunchbox Theatre, 410 – 131 9 Avenue SW, 403-265-4292, www.lunchboxtheatre.com
Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation
This powerful and haunting orchestral homage by composer Jeffrey Ryan commemorates Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan, transcending nations to pay tribute to the lives touched, changed, and lost in battle around the world. The symphony will be performed by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and their chorus at the Jack Singer Concert Hall, led by conductor Rune Bergmann, for two shows, each at 8 pm, on November 10 and 11. Visit the Calgary Philharmonic online or call their box office at 403-571-084 to purchase tickets starting at $20.
Jack Singer Concert Hall, 205 8 Ave SE, 403-294-9494, www.artscommons.ca
Remembrance Day at YYC
If you happen to be flying into or out of the city on this reverent morning and wish to pause for a moment of silence, this is the event for you. The Calgary International Airport Pipe Band and Honour Guard—consisting of members of the Calgary Police Service, RCMP, Calgary Fire Department, Calgary Emergency Medical Services, Royal Air Force and more—will parade through the airport, beginning in Concourse A at the Departures level at 10:30 am. The procession will congregate in the open space beside Montana’s Cookhouse after the parade.
Calgary International Airport, 2000 Airport Rd NE, 403-735-1200, www.yyc.com
Remembrance Day Cemetery Tour Banff
If you’re headed to the mountains this weekend, a tour of the Old Banff Cemetery is in order. Hear stories of hardship and heroism from veterans on hand, and learn the history of Banff as you never have before—during the World War era.
The Old Banff Cemetery, 102 Wolverine St, Banff, 403-762-1200, www.banff.ca
There will be an indoor ceremony held at Fort Calgary starting at 10:30 am; arrive early to ensure seating. Afterwards there is a holiday artisan’s fair, and entrance is free with a non-perishable donation to the Veterans Food Bank.
Fort Calgary, 750 9 Ave SE, 403-290-1875, www.fortcalgary.com
Political, military, veteran, civic and community leaders will lay wreaths in honour of our fallen soldiers outside the auditorium beginning at 9:30 am, with a march to follow and moment of silence at 11:11 am. Anyone wishing to lay a wreath on behalf of a family member, friend or loved one is encouraged and welcome. Weather permitting, for the latest updates visit the Jubilee Auditorium online.
Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 1415 14 Ave NW, 403-297-8000, www.jubileeauditorium.com
Remember to head down to your local legion after paying your respects, as this is where many veterans will gather after mid-day memorials to share stories, laughter, tears, and a few beers—and the company of those they fought so hard to protect is always welcomed and appreciated. Browse here to locate the Royal Canadian Legion nearest you.