Thanks to the efforts of the Poppy Committee, the numerous Legion volunteers along with a few community volunteers, the campaign proceeded as planned. Boxes were delivered and returned and their contents carefully counted with few problems. Tables at Stone Road Mall, Old Quebec Street Mall, and at Costco were manned by volunteers. Both Directors of Education allowed our volunteers to deliver poppy boxes even though the schools were restricting access to visitors and parents. Donations from the schools were larger than previous years. We had a large number of new requests to have boxes placed in businesses. If people did not have any loonies or toonies, they very generously put in fives and tens even some twenties. By establishing an e-transfer account (email@example.com), we dramatically increased direct donations.
As of November 1, 2020, the Guelph Poppy Trust balance was $52,305.59.
As of 2 December 2020 the campaign took in the following:
Lapel Poppies $54,612.54
Pins, Inserts, Bracelets 2,273.91
Bank Balance (Nov 30) $116,692.28
On Friday December 11 we received a donation of $1500.00 to the Poppy Trust from the Guelph Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama. Funds were raised as a part of their annual “Muslims for Remembrance Day” campaign. (see picture gallery below)
The Poppy Committee was faced with unexpected challenges due to Covid 19. The loss of the services provided by cadet corps was major setback. Government offices and large businesses either shut down completely or rigidly restricted who could enter the premises. Sneeze barriers at checkout counters created problems as it restricted where we could place our poppy boxes. The 2020 enrolment at the University of Guelph to 500 students instead of 24,000 (2019) certainly reduced donations. We had two of our boxes stolen from two stores. The thief was apprehended by the police and in one case, the store manager brought in a donation to cover what might have been in the stolen box.
The success of the 2020 Poppy campaign is a result of the generosity of the citizens of Guelph, the support of the business community, and the hard work of Legion volunteers. My personal thanks go out to all who contributed to the campaign which will allow us to continue to support veterans and their families, provide bursaries, support regional hospitals and promote Remembrance through youth activities like the literary and poster competitions and participation in the local cadet corps.
Poppy Committee Chairman
Original planning for the Guelph War Memorial began in 1921. Initial cost laid down was $50,000.00, which today would be worth over $600,000.00. This is almost 17 times the amount invested by other Communities in Wellington County
Cenotaph design was awarded to British-born Alfred Howell of Toronto
CENOTAPH SYMBOLS FROM THE TOP
· The two figures at the top of the cenotaph combine to show the sacrifice and loss of war. The top figure represents the personification of the spirit of Canada. She holds in her arms the roll of those who went to war for her. She is pointing to a name and looking towards the sunset, waiting for her sons and daughters to return home.
· This links with the figure of the soldier beneath who represents the fallen Canadian soldier looking towards the dawn. The sun had set for the last time on the young men and women who have fallen, and they look to the dawn of a new life, the promise of life after death conveyed by most religions.
· The spirit of Canada and the fallen soldier's eyes never meet. They went to war for Canada which waits their return, but they will never see her again.
· The lower figure represents justice and holds two swords in balance, upturned. The two upturned swords are a common theme on many cenotaphs and represent peace. Each sword represents the opposing sides of conflict. The fact they are upturned signifies that these arms are not in conflict but at rest and they are balanced, as each side's soldiers who fought and died each believed in the justness of their cause.
This is to show that it is not our place to judge the fallen of conflict for their beliefs and instead pay reverence to the sacrifice that was paid in establishing the peace we now enjoy. This is further expressed by the laurel wreath on each sword, an expression of victory. The victory wasn't a matter of who was right and who was wrong. The victory was peace itself.
The final item of note on the Cenotaph is the words, "To our glorious dead." This seems to be a unique feature to most Canadian memorials and cenotaphs. We say 'to our glorious dead,' not 'to our victorious dead' as is common with other nations. This serves as a potent reminder that war is a horrid event that results in terrible sacrifice, not glory of victory.
The Cenotaph was unveiled on August 2, 1927.
The Civic War Memorial has inscribed on it:
To Our Glorious Dead
1914 to 1918
1939 to 1945
1950 to 1953
There is a wall to the right with the names of those from the Guelph area, who had fallen in 1914 to 1918, 1939 to 1945, and 1950 to 1953.
The Cenotaph remained unchanged until 1978 when it was moved further back to allow for road expansion.
Cenotaph was modified in 1984 to include the years 1950-1953 (Korea) by Mike LeClair
Roll of Honour moved to site in Sept 2007 from storage and restoration. Had formerly been in Memorial Gardens.
Note- The research on the Memorial was done by; Dan Bellany, an Instructor with 121 Air Cadet Squadron.