‘Poppy 100’ stamp coming this fall

In July 1921, the Canadian Great War Veterans Association (CGWVA) – now the Royal Canadian Legion – officially recognized the poppy as a symbol of remembrance.

Inspired by John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields,” Madame Anna Guérin, of France, began to popularize the Remembrance Day poppy a year earlier to raise money for war-torn regions of her home country. Through the British Legion, she organized the commission of a million fabric poppies, all of which were sold before another eight million were commissioned.

Her fundraising idea was later considered and approved at a CGWVA meeting in Port Arthur, Ont. (now Thunder Bay).

A century later, as part of the country’s “Poppy 100” celebrations, both a stamp from Canada Post and a commemorative coin from Royal Canadian Mint are in the works.

A five-cent stamp issued in 1968 marks 50 years since the death of John McCrae, the author of the iconic wartime remembrance poem, ‘In Flanders Fields.’

This year, the Legion will also mark the poppy’s centennial with commemorative pins replicating the original 1921 lapel pin plus a special video highlighting the poppy’s history.

Several national landmarks, including the CN Tower, the Calgary Tower and BC Place, were lit on July 6 to mark the 100th anniversary.

Canada Post has issued several poppy-themed stamps since 1968, when what was then known as the Post Office Department released a five-cent stamp (Scott #487) honouring McCrae’s life.

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