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 www.tbaywithkids.ca, 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 www.northstarwriting.ca.

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