B.C. Remembrance Day events to be held rain or shine, with wild weather forecast

VANCOUVER — An organizer of Saturday's Remembrance Day ceremony in Downtown Vancouver wants anyone worried about a forecast of wild weather to try to imagine what it was like in the trenches of Europe during the First World War.

James Stanton, director of ceremonies with the Vancouver Remembrance Day Committee, said he was confident that "rain does not stop Vancouverites."

A weather front bringing heavy rain and winds of up to 90 kilometres an hour is forecast to cross British Columbia's south coast this evening, and although the winds could ease in time for services Saturday morning, soaking rain is expected across the Lower Mainland, including Vancouver.

"(Think) of what it was like … when those young men faced rain and machine gunfire and (the) horror of that," Stanton said.

"So for us to stand for a few minutes in the rain to recognize them is something that Canadians will do with pride."

Dozens of Remembrance Day ceremonies are planned for Metro Vancouver, including the downtown Victory Square service at the Cenotaph at 10:30 a.m., which the City of Vancouver says attracts more than 15,000 people each year and will be held "rain or shine."

Other services across B.C. will include the province’s official Remembrance Day ceremony at 10:30 a.m. at the Victoria Cenotaph at the B.C. Legislature, which will be preceded by a parade to the site.

Roe Campbell, a member of the executive of the Victoria Poppy Fund, said 600 people would take part in the parade, with thousands expected at the cenotaph.

New Westminster hosts one of the province's oldest and best-attended ceremonies, culminating at the City Hall Cenotaph where ceremonies begin at 10:30 a.m.

In the Okanagan, a parade will march through downtown Kelowna from 10.45 a.m., before the official ceremony at the cenotaph at City Park.

The Kelowna service in 2021 was disrupted by people protesting vaccine mandates, resulting in an investigation by the RCMP and a woman being charged, with her trial set for later this year.

A man was also arrested for creating a disturbance and fighting police at the Victoria service last year.

Stanton said there would be a "heightened security presence" at Victory Square, due to "the current state of unrest in the world."

"People are entitled to protest, but they should not protest in such a way as to interrupt the sacredness of remembering. They should show respect," he said.

Const. Tania Visintin, Vancouver police media relations officer, said officers would be posted at major Remembrance Day ceremonies as they are every year. But she said she could not provide operational plans in detail.

Campbell said she encouraged people to attend ceremonies in person.

But people who can't make it should have two minutes of silence at 11 a.m., "wherever you are."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2023.

The Canadian Press