New additions to 2022 poppy campaign include biodegradable and scannable poppies

Each year, the national poppy campaign brings in almost $20 million

By Leanne Murray | November 8, 2022 |5:00 am

The Royal Canadian Legion has introduced biodegradable poppies and wreaths this year.

Photo: Submitted

Friday is Remembrance Day—a day for Canadians across the country to don a poppy and honour members of the Armed Forces who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The Royal Canadian Legion has made some exciting and progressive additions to the 2022 poppy campaign.

For the first time in the Legion’s history, new biodegradable poppies and wreaths have been distributed this year.

National spokesperson Nujma Bond says the biodegradable options have been a few years in the making.

This year’s poppy campaign includes biodegradable poppies and wreaths.

Years in the making

“It’s taken a bit of time to find just the right mix of materials to produce something that will have some lasting ability and look just as nice and as respectful as the poppies that people are used to seeing,” Bond says.

“So the poppies this year are crafted out of paper and cotton velvet, and the reeds are a mixture of things, including moss, bamboo, and some plaster.”

Not every poppy will be biodegradable as it will take a few years for the previous stock to diminish.

However, eventually, all of the poppies and wreaths distributed by the Legion will be the new, environmentally-friendly versions—which Bond says have been a big hit with the public.

“So far, people are really excited to see them, they’re really interested in them and they think they’re really neat. And for us, it was a way to reduce our environmental footprint, which is obviously a really important thing.”

Embracing the digital age

Another brand new initiative the Legion introduced this year is called Poppy Stories.

Bond says the Legion is always interested in creating greater connections to veterans, and Poppy Stories is one more way of doing that.

People can visit poppystories.ca on their smartphones, scan a poppy, and a story of a Canadian veteran will appear.

“It’s a short anecdote. You learn a little bit more about the veteran, you see a face, you get a name, and you learn a little bit about where they served, what their role was, how they passed away, and also a little bit about their personal passions,” Bond says.

“We really felt it was an amazing way to become even closer and more connected to the veterans across our country who have served and sacrificed for us and, ultimately, whose work has led to the freedoms that we enjoy in Canada today.”

This year, poppies are scannable to read stories about Canadian veterans.

Dedicate a digital poppy

The Digital Poppy is an element of the campaign that is returning this year after seeing some success in the past.

By visiting mypoppy.ca, Canadians can dedicate a digital poppy to a veteran and make a donation.

“It could be a family member who served, it could be a friend, and what we’re finding is that when people share these stories… through social media, they’re learning more about veterans in our communities, their friends and families, and it is another way to connect.”

Bond says the Digital Poppy is a way to educate while also allowing people to donate to help veterans and their families.

Raising funds

Traditional poppy boxes for cash donations have been distributed across the country, as have Tap and Give electronic boxes with $2, $5, and $10 options.

Donations can also be made on the Legion’s website.

While there isn’t a set fundraising goal for the national poppy campaign, Bond says almost $20 million is brought in each year.

“The funds that are donated locally stay in local communities,” says Bond.

“So anything that would be donated in the Calgary region would stay in Calgary to help veterans and families and communities in that region.”

Canadians can dedicate a digital poppy as part of this year’s campaign.

Remembrance Day in Calgary

The Calgary Tower will be lit in red on Friday in honour of Remembrance Day.

There will also be numerous ceremonies taking place throughout the Calgary region.

The Legion has created an online ceremony locator tool populated by local branches for people to find their nearest celebration.

Calgary’s Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium will host the Royal Canadian Legion Remembrance Day Ceremony.

Calgarians can also attend the Field of Crosses Memorial and services at the Hangar Flight Museum, the Military Museums, and Fort Calgary.

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Leanne Murray

Leanne is a Calgary Citizen reporter.

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