The Unknown History of the Remembrance Day Poppy And Its Origins In Thunder Bay

How an iconic downtown hotel helped launch this time-honoured tradition.

Did you know the iconic red Remembrance Day poppy worn on lapels across Canada has a Thunder Bay, Ontario connection?

Downtown PA - Arthur St

In 1921, a Frenchwoman named Anna E. Guérin traveled to both Britain and Canada to propose making the poppy a symbol of remembrance for soldiers killed in the Great War. Her first Canadian stop was a meeting of the Great War Veterans Association of Canada (a predecessor of the Legion) held at Thunder Bay’s Prince Arthur Hotel on Cumberland St.

Prince Arthur - BandW

At the meeting on July 4, the members decided to adopt the poppy as its “Flower of Remembrance,” and that November, poppies were distributed in Canada for the first time.

poppy plaque

Today, the historic hotel, now known as the Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel displays a plaque commemorating the meeting. “In the last few years we’ve had veterans’ groups from Wisconsin and Minnesota come to stay, and they often pose for pictures in front of the plaque,” says Kory Morabito, sales manager at the hotel.

Prince Arthur Post Card

Built in 1911 (the brainchild of high rollers at a poker game), the Prince Arthur Hotel boasts high ceilings, intricate millwork and plenty of historic charm.

Prince Arthur lobby

Vintage photographs—with subjects like a 1906 police van or the Lake Superior Regiment marching to war in 1942—are displayed throughout the hotel, making it a treasure trove for history lovers.

police car

Plan your vacation to the historic waterfront city of Thunder Bay today. For more inspiration on where to stay and what to do in the city, visit their website

About Bonnie Schiedel

Bonnie Schiedel is the founder of, which covers fun family-friendly attractions, events and restaurants in Thunder Bay. She enjoys canoeing, hiking, snowshoeing and travel, and you can read more of her award-winning work at

Recommended Articles

A Day Tripper's Guide to Nipigon

The most northerly freshwater port in North America boasts a ton of small-town charm.

The 5 Best Sights to See in Thunder Bay

From the legendary Sleeping Giant to Indigenous art galleries these Thunder Bay attractions are not to be missed.

Are you up for the Challenge?

The Paju Mountain Run

12 Best Places to Stay in Thunder Bay

A boutique courthouse, art-filled hostel, or a luxe waterfront hotel—TBay has accommodations for every taste.

Niva's Restaurant

A Family Place that Has People Lining Up in Thunder Bay

Dog Sledding with Boreal Journeys, just outside Thunder Bay

Pull of the Wild

6 great hiking trails in and around Thunder Bay

Hike the famous Sleeping Giant or the Flett railway tunnel in this Northwest Ontario city.

21 Ways to Enjoy Thunder Bay

Why 2024 is your year to visit this fabulous northern Ontario City.

Treasure Hunting in Thunder Bay

A longtime thrifter's story—and some hot tips!

Nordic Skiing in Thunder Bay

Ski Some of the Best Cross-Country Trails in Canada

A City of Sisu

Finnish Culture in Thunder Bay

Summer Fun at Chippewa Park

Thunder Bay's Outdoor Playground

Spend Your Weekend Down by the Bay

Explore the cityscape and the landscape in Thunder Bay with this 2-day itinerary.

Quality Time Overload

Here's everything that's going on for Family Day in Thunder Bay this year.

Hiking The Giant

Ontario’s Largest Network of Hiking Trails

Westfort Street Fair

Celebrate of one of Thunder Bay's historic neighbourhoods

Sailing on Lake Superior

Book Your Summer Experience

When The Sun Goes Down, The Lights Come On

Hitting TBay’s Slopes After Sunset

Giorg: Traditional Italian with a Modern Twist in Thunder Bay

Landing the Big Fish at June Derby In Red Rock