BOW VALLEY – One hundred years ago, the communities of Canmore and Banff celebrated the armistice and the end of the Great War along with the rest of Canada and the world.
To mark this important anniversary, local churches will ring 100 bell tolls in honour of the end of the First World War. The bells will ring to emulate the moment in 1918 when church bells across Europe tolled as four years of war came to an end.
The anniversary will be marked at sunset, 4:59 p.m. on Sunday (Nov. 11). The Royal Canadian Legion Bells of Peace ceremony will be marked by Ralph Connor United Church and St. Michael’s Anglican Church in Canmore.
During the four-year war, 650,000 Canadians fought for their country, close to 66,000 were killed and 172,000 wounded, while countless others suffered in the aftermath.
On Remembrance Day the Banff Legion has organized a parade that will march down Banff Avenue to the Banff Elementary school starting at 10:30 a.m. At 11 a.m. the public will be asked to observe two minutes of silence followed by a public service.
After the service, the parade will march back to the Legion to lay wreaths in front of the cenotaph. A wreath laying service will also be held at the cenotaph at Bankhead.
In Canmore, a parade will form infront of the Legion at 9:30 a.m. before heading off to Lawrence Grassi Middle School.
At 10 a.m., a public Remembrance Day service will be held in the school’s gymnasium. Following the service the parade will march back to the Legion’s cenotaph in time for 11 a.m. to observe a moment of silence.
A public reception will be held inside the legion following the events. Tickets are $10 per person, however veterans, members and spouses are free.
Canadians are encouraged to share their photos or videos of the 100 Bells ceremony on social media with #100bells for a chance to win a prize. Go to www.legion.ca to find out more.
The Legion is also encouraging youth and children in the community to honour veterans who fought in the First World War by researching their service and marking their graves with a Canadian flag. The Libraries and Archives Canada database is available for the public to research First World War veterans in their community.
Flags can be obtained from a local Legion branch or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Founded in 1925, the Legion is Canada’s largest veteran support and community service organization.