‘So disrespectful’: Poppies for the fallen allowed to fade from Toronto street signs
Poppies stencilled on city streets named after veterans who gave their lives in Word War II finally restored this week.
Nov. 11, 2022
Poppies are worn at this time of year as a show of respect for soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom.
Veterans of the two world wars that claimed the lives of many thousands of Canadians are mostly forgotten now, except for their families. The rest of us honour them on Remembrance Day.
We pay our respects by wearing a poppy bought from a Royal Canadian Legion member and making sure it remains pinned to our coats. It’s the least we can do.
But when poppies that were stencilled onto street signs named after veterans who gave their lives in WWII are allowed to fade away -- like memories of the soldiers themselves – it seems to their families as if they’ve been disrespected.
That’s how Verna McKenzie feels about poppies that long adorned the signs on Goulden Crescent, near Danforth and Birchmount Roads, as well as other nearby streets named after fallen soldiers from the local community.
McKenzie sent me a poignant note lamenting the disappearance of poppies from the Goulden signs -- named after her uncle, George Goulden -- and asking how it could be allowed to happen.
“Every year when it gets close to Remembrance Day I take a trip over to the area to see my Uncle George Goulden’s street (he died on November 11, 1944) with the poppy on it,” said McKenzie.
“Well, to my surprise, this year’s visit was disheartening because the poppy is gone from the sign.
“I don’t know how long it’s been missing because the last few years with all the COVID restrictions and no Remembrance Day services in the area I haven’t been (there).
“All the other streets signs in the area with poppies on them are also gone.
“I do know that the city had to get special permission from Ottawa to have poppies on the street signs, so what happened to them? This is so disrespectful in my opinion to all these boys who sacrificed their lives for Canadians in the war.”
McKenzie went on to say that she and her sister, her mother and two of her uncle George’s sisters would make an annual trip to Goulden Crescent around Remembrance Day, to honour his sacrifice.
“My mom and her family always kept my Uncle George’s memory alive but they are all gone now with the last of them, my Aunt Ruth, passing away just last month. It was an honour for them to have a street named after their beloved brother.”
STATUS: I emailed the city to ask if the poppies on the street signs named after the fallen soldiers could be restored, and the sooner the better. On Tuesday, transportation services confirmed that all 16 street signs that had poppies on them that faded have been re-stencilled with new poppies.Lest we forget.