Tofino commemorates Remembrance Day through intimate ceremony

Melissa Renwick, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, November 11, 2020

Mike White lowers the Canadian flag in front of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #65, in Tofino on Remembrance Day, on Nov. 11, 2020. (Melissa Renwick photo)

Tofino, BC — 

A small crowd gathered in front of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #65 in Tofino for a commemorative demonstration in the morning on Remembrance Day.

Maintaining social distancing, around 30 people stood in silence to witness the ceremony.

The event, which normally draws nearly 300 community members together, signalled the sign of the times.

Tuned into Tuff City Radio, “O Canada” played through speakers, which was followed by two minutes of silence. The radio station hosted a Remembrance Day service for the first time through song, poetry and stories. It was a way to bring the community together through airwave to honour those who have given their lives to defend the country.

While Jess Harris, Tofino Legion secretary, cancelled the Remembrance Day parade and community luncheon to dissuade people from gathering in groups, it was important for her to commemorate the day amid the pandemic.

“This is the reason why [the legion] exists,” she said. “This is really important to us.”

Following the safety protocols set out by B.C.’s Ministry of Health, the ceremony was roped off from the public to ensure proper social distancing measures were being met.

The legion will remain closed until B.C. Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry advises otherwise, said Harris.

Mike White, who has participated in Remembrance Day celebrations in Tofino for the past 15 years, paid tribute by lowering the Canadian Flag in front of the legion’s cenotaph.

Although the crowds weren’t like they normally are, at least the sun was shining, he said.