Many Canadians are unaware that this year’s Remembrance Day marks a major milestone, according to a new survey.
Armistice Day, now known as Remembrance Day, was first marked in Canada on Nov. 11, 1919. That date marked the one-year anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the First World War.
Sunday marks the 100-year anniversary of the end of the war. While there are events planned across the country, as is tradition, a survey from genealogy website Ancestry reveals that most Canadians don’t plan to attend them.
The survey also found that 56 per cent of its 1,524 Canadian respondents could not identify the importance of this year’s anniversary.
It also found several other signs that Canadians’ awareness of the First World War might be fading, including 38 per cent of respondents saying they do not know if they have a relative who served in the war.
Only 22 per cent of respondents were able to identify Sir Robert Borden as Canada’s wartime prime minister. Eight per cent believed it was Winston Churchill, who was prime minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War.
Danny Martin, deputy director with the Royal Canadian Legion, says declining interest in Remembrance Day and the First World War does not surprise him given Canada’s last veteran of that war died in 2010.
“Our older generation of veterans are all gone,” he told CTVNews.ca in an Oct. 25 interview.
Additionally, Martin said, the war is no longer covered as thoroughly in schools as it was in the past.
“That might be like a 15, 20-minute exercise in the classroom. You don’t gain anything out of that. You don’t get the feel,” he said.
Other findings of the survey include:
- 80 per cent of Canadians are planning to commemorate Remembrance Day in some way this year, down from 86 per cent last year
- Younger Canadians are even less likely to have Remembrance Day in mind, with 72 per cent of people under the age of 35 saying they expect to mark the occasion in some way
- Alberta and the Atlantic provinces lead the way on Remembrance Day participation, with 91 per cent of respondents there saying they plan to
- In Quebec, that number drops to 50 per cent
- 59 per cent of Canadians plan to purchase a poppy, down from 70 per cent in 2017
- 46 per cent expect to observe a moment of silence
The survey has a margin of error of 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.