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.
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.