Seven facts about poppies, including where they're made
Where are they made?
Up until the mid-1990s, military veterans made the poppies Canadians proudly pin close to their hearts, but 2014 is a little different.
This year’s poppies were put together by inmates in minimum, medium and maximum-security prisons in the prairies. Trico Printing, a private company, has the contract with a rehab program of Corrections Services Canada.
Initially, there were health and safety concerns with having inmates handle the pins.
Remembrance Day Poppies in Ottawa Friday Oct 31, 2014. Tony Caldwell/QMI Agency
How many are made?
The Royal Canadian Legion distributed 18 million poppies last year – one for every two Canadians. This year, Legion officials expect to distribute 20 million poppies.
Why the poppy?
The poppy was widespread in Europe after soils in France and Belgium became rich in lime from rubble during the First World War. The flowers also flourished around the gravesites of the war dead.
When did the poppy campaign start in Canada?
In 1921. France’s Anne Guerin travelled to Britain and Canada and convinced the Canadian Great War Veterans Association -- a predecessor of the Legion – to adopt the poppy as their symbol of remembrance. According to the Canadian War Museum, she was inspired by John McCrae’s famous poem In Flanders Fields and by American Moina Michael who pledged a year prior to wear a red poppy as a symbol of remembering those who died.
Weren’t the centre of poppies green for a while?
Yes, they were. From 1980 to 2002, poppy pins were made with a green centre instead of the common black centres you see now. According to the Legion, the colour was changed back to black to reflect the actual colours of the flowers in France.
William McLachlan holds up poppies in this QMI Agency file photo taken in 2001.
When should poppies be worn?
They are usually worn from the last Friday in October until after Remembrance Day ceremonies on Nov. 11. Many people place their poppy on a wreath or at the base of a cenotaph as a sign of respect.
Chuck Johnston, poppy chair for the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 350 with the new poppy keeper. Oct. 31 2013. Bob Tymczyszyn/QMI Agency.
Where does my poppy donation go?
The money raised from donations provides financial assistance to veterans in need, funds medical equipment, research, home services long-term care facilities and more.
The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 605 in St. George, Ontario is marking it's 50th anniversary this Saturday, November 8, 2014. BRIAN THOMPSON/QMI Agency