Thousands pay tribute as Remembrance Day ceremony returns to Winnipeg convention centre

As the Last Post from a bugler echoed through the hall of Winnipeg’s RBC Convention Centre, not a single other sound could be heard as thousands stood silent at Friday’s Remembrance Day service.

An estimated 2,000 members of the public were able to attend Manitoba’s largest remembrance ceremony for the first time since 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the event in 2020 and 2021, and the scaling back of other ceremonies in the city and around the province.

“This morning, as we reflect upon our blessings, we ask that we may be faithful stewards of the freedom that we have been granted,” the master of ceremonies at Friday morning’s ceremony said, noting this year, the 11th minute of the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month, marked 104 years since the end of the First World War.

A man in a navy blue military uniform stands in a spotlight on a darkened stage, playing a bugle, as other uniformed people stand behind him.
A bugler plays the Last Post during the Remembrance Day service at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

It also marked the 80th anniversary of the Dieppe raid in northern France, during the Second World War.

Manitoba Lt.-Gov. Anita Neville laid the first wreath, followed by Memorial Cross recipient Shannon Morley, Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, MP Dan Vandal on behalf of the Government of Canada, Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham and numerous service members and veterans.

A large crowd gathered at the RBC Convention Centre on Friday as the annual service returned to in-person attendance. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

The service at the convention centre was one of about a dozen in Winnipeg, including one at Vimy Ridge Memorial Park.

Close to 200 people gathered in fresh snow for the service by the Royal Winnipeg Rifles Regiment, on the 105th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France.

A crowd of people stand in snow, gathered around a cenotaph and soldiers.
About 200 people attended the service in Vimy Ridge Memorial Park in Winnipeg on Friday morning. (Justin Fraser/CBC)

“Today, we give thanks to the women and men of every generation who have answered the call to serve our country,” said Canadian Armed Forces Chaplain Capt. Antin Sloboda.

“Each sacrifice is imprinted in the fabric that shapes the identity of Canada and thus cannot be forgotten.”

And in a world that continues to be shaken with struggle and instability, including a war in Ukraine, it is equally important to think of those serving our country today, he added.

“We ask for blessings for our Canadian Armed Forces who are deployed in supporting allies in Europe and globally, and who serve on humanitarian missions helping those who carry the burdens of conflict most severely — refugees, vulnerable minorities, women and children,” Sloboda said.

An estimated 350 people attended the service at the St. Norbert Cemetery, where students read out the names on the cenotaph. (Lara Schroeder/CBC)

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