One of Metro Vancouver’s largest Remembrance Day ceremonies usually takes place at the Royal Westminster Regiment Armouries on November 11th.
In years when there isn’t a global pandemic, the ceremonies begin indoors at the Armouries and are then followed by a parade and more ceremonies in front of New Westminster’s City Hall.
NOVEMBER 11TH IN 2020
Due to COVID-19, the Remembrance Day ceremony in New Westminster (as with most ceremonies in the Lower Mainland) is not happening in its usual format this year. The plan is for it to be a virtual event where the general public can watch online.
There will be no public event at the cenotaph on November 11th in New Westminster in 2020. There also won’t be a public parade. At the virtual event the mayor will likely give an address, and there will be the usual two minutes of silence, the singing of O Canada and the recitation of the poem In Flanders Field. The Royal Westminster Regiment Band is also scheduled to play The Last Post.
For more information about the virtual event, see the City of New Westminster‘s website.
November 11th in New Westminster
New Westminster is home to the Royal Westminster Regiment Armouries which is located at 530 Queens. That’s where the city’s Remembrance Day ceremonies begin most years on November 11th.
In years when COVID-19 isn’t a problem, attendees gather at the Armoury beginning at around 9 am. The doors close at 9:45, so it is best to be inside before then.
New Westminster’s Remembrance Day ceremonies are one of the few large ones that typically take place indoors, which is great on rainy days. The Armoury is a big place, but it does fill up and in some years not everyone can get in.
City of New Westminster Ceremonies
Note: In addition to and complementing the event at the Armoury most years, the City of New Westminster has its own Remembrance Day Ceremony (which is technically a separate event). If you don’t want to join the event at the Armoury (or it’s too full and you can’t get in) you can simply wait 45 minutes or so and join the second event.
In a typical year (which 2020 is not), the city’s Remembrance Day ceremony starts at 10:30 am with a procession along Sixth Street to City Hall. (The parade is actually a continuation of the event from the Armoury where the first group simply joins the second.) It’s here that the Mayor and other dignitaries speak, the two minutes of silence takes place and wreathes are laid at the Cenotaph.
The New Westminster Ceremonies
In years when the live in-person ceremonies take place, with the first event in New Westminster, the doors to the Armoury close at 9:45 am and the ceremonies begin shortly thereafter. Consequently, participants are asked to be inside and getting settled by around 9:30.
Apart from starting indoors, the ceremonies in New Westminster are similar to those at Remembrance Day events in other communities. There is a band, lots of folk in uniform, a prayer and a solemn speech or two.
After the formal indoor service, which lasts for less than an hour, participants usually exit the Armoury and march in procession outside and along Royal Avenue to New Westminster’s City Hall which is located just a few blocks away at 511 Royal Avenue. There, in front of the cenotaph, wreaths are laid and the traditional 2 minutes of silence are observed at 11:00 am most years.
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most out of your November 11th experience in New Westminster (in years when they take place live and in-person).
TIP #1: Arrive early if you want to see the ceremony from within the Armoury. Space is limited and, don’t forget, the doors close at 9:45 sharp.
TIP #2: If you don’t get in at the Armoury, or if you want to sleep in and arrive later, you can still catch the procession along Royal Avenue and the 2 minutes of silence at the cenotaph in front of City Hall. That too is interesting.
TIP #3: Being one of the few major ceremonies that takes place indoors, expect the venue to be especially popular if the forecast calls for rain.
TIP #4: In past years, Queens Avenue United Church, which is across the street from the Armoury, has been open for overflow crowds to watch the ceremonies via live video. That wasn’t the case in 2018, unfortunately.
TIP #5: The Royal Westminster Regiment Armouries building is wheelchair accessible. Guide dogs for the visually impaired are also welcome.
TIP #6: If the weather is good, after the ceremonies consider going for walk and exploring nearby Tipperary Park or enjoying a stroll along New Westminster’s waterfront.
For a list of ceremonies in other communities in the region, click Remembrance Day in Metro Vancouver.
To learn about Canada’s November 11th national holiday and why it’s celebrated, click Remembrance Day.
For information about the surrounding area, see our article about New Westminster.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s November Calendar
- Festivals & Events
- Best Vancouver Autumn Places
- Lower Mainland Parks and Nature