A Leaside retirement home worked with the Leaside community to create the Poppy Project, a novel Remembrance Day tribute to the men and women who served and sacrificed.
The residents and staff at the Millwood Retirement Residence on Millwood Road and members of the community, including students at Bessborough Drive Elementary School, created a lawn full of poppies complete with heartfelt messages.
“Dear Veterans, we appreciate all you’ve done for us,” reads a message on a poppy from student Ramarri Griffin. “You were so brave and strong, without you we couldn’t survive. We hope you live a great life.”
Residence executive director Marijana Zivkovic said she knew this year’s remembrance, like last year’s, would be different from that of previous years, but she did not want the importance of this day to be forgotten.
“A traditional Remembrance Day usually includes intergenerational programs that all residents and staff can enjoy,” she said. “Unfortunately because of the pandemic we needed to do things a little differently this year.”
They chose to honour veterans with a lawn poppy display, with the help of young people from Bessborough school.
Residents of Millwood include a veteran, Walter Patyk, who appreciated the Remembrance Day tribute.
Patyk was released from the Soviet labour camp in Siberia to fight with the Polish Artillery under the British. He was a front-line radioman and was seriously wounded in the battle of Monte Cassino. He was awarded with several medals for his bravery.
He then emigrated to Canada after the war to start a new life.
He is the only living veteran at the residence at present.
The residence invited the public to visit the display leading up to Remembrance Day.
Since then the poppy display has been taken down and the poppies are headed into the hands of veterans to enjoy the notes from community members, residents and schoolchildren.
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