Knitted poppies a symbol of remembrance in Kemptville, Ont.

As communities gear up to mark Remembrance Day, red yarn has become key to a symbol in North Grenville to commemorate the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of Canadian veterans. 

Started by Brenda Ward of Kemptville four years ago, a display of knitted poppies now holds a place of pride in Kemptville’s downtown.

At the corner of Clothier Street and Prescott Street in Rotary Park over 2,000 handmade poppies form a blanket of red draped over the large clock standing on the corner, spilling onto the ground.

Ward says she first got the idea from a display she saw in a church window in Calgary. She thought it was stunning and put it out to the community who in turn embraced the idea. She now receives poppies from around the world, getting 200 from a woman in Australia this year.

Locally, people like Debbie Wilson, co-owner of Grahams Bakery in Kemptville, spend hours knitting to help. So far, she has knit at least 100 poppies. 

“I have a bin that is outside the bakery, we just ask people to deliver them there,” Wilson said. “The poppies I knit take about an hour to do because they are more intricate.”

Along with poppies on Sunday, the community officially designated Prescott Street in downtown Kemptville, Remembrance Way.

Starting in 2023, banners will be raised along the street paying tribute to current and past military members with connections to North Grenville. Mayor Nancy Peckford says she is the proudest mayor in Canada today.

Kemptville has designated Prescott Street as Remembrance Way, where banners will be placed to pay tribute to current and past military veterans. (Shaun Vardon/CTV News Ottawa)

“I salute the leadership in the community outside of council for being so incredibly dedicated to marking Remembrance Day and finding new and different ways to ensure that the memories of those who have served and continue to serve are well marked.”

Ward is still amazed it all came together and continues to grow.

“The just rallied around me, everybody is so excited about it.”

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