This year’s Remembrance Day has been nothing like those of the past. COVID-19 restrictions have prevented gatherings, and the annual Poppy Campaign was partially hamstrung by social distancing rules. But the Royal Canadian Legion, with the help of partners CHIP Reverse Mortgage from HomeEquity Bank and HSBC Bank Canada, found innovative ways to continue to digitally honour veterans and fundraise on their behalf and on behalf of their families.
Sponsored by CHIP Reverse Mortgage with its partners at Zulu Alpha Kilo, OMD Canada and Provident Communications, for the second year the website mypoppy.ca allowed visitors to create their own virtual poppy and dedicate it to a veteran. It requested a donation of any amount to assist veterans and their families. Author Margaret Atwood created poppy in memory of her spouse Graeme Gibson’s father, Brigadier General T.G. Gibson, and figure skating champ Kurt Browning’s was for his uncle, Flight Officer R.G. Boyden.
Once created and customized (if desired – there was also a generic design that just says “We Remember”), the poppy arrived by email.
For those who wanted a traditional poppy, the Legion and HSBC created the Pay.
Tribute Poppy Box and distributed 250 of them across the country. Like the traditional poppy boxes (yes, they’re still around too), it holds the poppies Canadians know so well, but instead of dropping their donations into a slot on the box, all people needed to do was tap a payment-enabled card or smartphone (such as one using Apple Pay) on the poppy image on the box to donate $2 to the poppy fund.
Game streamers on Twitch also joined the tributes. For the second consecutive year, HomeEquity Bank and the Legion partnered with popular video game streamers on the Twitch streaming platform for a virtual moment of silence. Four Second World War veterans, 100-year-old Captain Jack Rhind, 95-year-old Albert “Bert” Card, 94-year-old Ronald Moys and 95-year-old Jack Boeki, joined forces as #TeamLegion and stood together on the virtual battlefield surrounded by players who heard their stories of heroism and honoured their service. The Pause to Remember campaign seeks to reach younger generations who may only be connected to our military history through video games.