Remembrance Day is commemorated on November 11th with parades and ceremonies at locations throughout Metro Vancouver including at Richmond’s City Hall.
For information about all Remembrance Day events across the Lower Mainland, click Remembrance Day Venues. For details about the annual event in Richmond, BC, see below.
Remembrance Day in Richmond
The Remembrance Day event in Richmond is one of the largest Remembrance Day ceremonies in Western Canada and is well worth attending in normal years. Thousands usually turn out for the ceremonies and the place is a sea of blue, green and red uniforms, and there are sounds of bagpipes playing and other marching band music. It’s a time for remembering past sacrifices, honoring those who have fought and died for their country, and reflection.
From the time the initial parade begins, until after the end of the official ceremonies, the entire event usually lasts for about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.
The Parade and Ceremonies
In most years, the November 11th event in Richmond begins at 10:20 am with a parade along Granville Street. Hundreds of cadets, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and veterans take part, and thousands of spectators watch from the sides of the street.
The parade finishes in front of the Cenotaph outside Richmond City Hall at 6911 Minoru Blvd. There, starting at around 11:00 am, the ceremonies take place.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the public was not able to attend the ceremonies in 2020, but continue reading for more information regarding previous years. 2021 details may be comparable, depending on the state of the pandemic in the fall.
During the ceremonies there are usually a few short speeches, some form of multi-denominational or inclusive prayer, the singing of the Canadian national anthem, other music, the recitation of a poem, the laying of wreaths at the Cenotaph, two minutes of silence and the playing of a bugle. It’s a solemn and impressive event.
While the Remembrance Day ceremonies take place in years without a pandemic, Granville Street in front of Richmond City Hall is full of cadets, soldiers, younger veterans and RCMP officers all in uniform and standing in rows at attention. There is seating for older veterans and dignitaries, and along the street and on the lawns out front thousands of people stand, watch and remember. The age of participants ranges from 0 to 100.
At the end of the official Remembrance Day ceremonies the assembled cadets, military officers, police officers and veterans resume their parade formations and march again, this time along just a bit of Granville Street before turning up Minoru Boulevard most years.
After the ceremonies and the end of the final parade, a free public reception takes place at Richmond City Hall in years that it is safe to do so. Inside, there are refreshments including hot chocolate and other treats, plus a choir singing. The same as the previous year, in 2019 the featured performance was with the Richmond Peace Children’s Choir.
Tips & Advice
Below is a list of suggestions to help you make the most out of your Remembrance Day experience at Richmond City Hall.
TIP #1: Go to a Remembrance Day ceremony, either in Richmond or somewhere else. They aren’t victory celebrations. They are solemn events to honour people who have died and fought for their country, and to remember the horrors of war, … lest we forget. Of all the various Remembrance Day events in the Lower Mainland, the one in Richmond is among the largest and most impressive.
TIP #2: Dress warmly, and take an umbrella or a good waterproof coat if it looks like rain. It can get cold in mid-November, and it rains a lot then too.
TIP #3: Arrive early to find parking in the area and a good place to watch from. The best views are arguably up close near the Cenotaph, for the ceremony, and along Granville Street for the parade. The entire area gets pretty crowded though, but there is lots of space.
TIP #4: If you want some free hot chocolate and a snack after the ceremony, get inside Richmond City Hall for the public reception right away. Thousands of people attend the Remembrance Day event, and although the Galleria area inside the City Hall building is large, the place quickly fills up after the ceremonies and gets insanely crowded.
TIP #5: The Richmond Remembrance Day ceremonies are simulcast and shown on a large screen inside the City Hall Council Chambers. There is seating inside and it’s an especially popular and comfortable place to watch from when it’s raining. Space is limited, obviously, and priority is given to individuals with special needs and those unable to stand for the duration of the service outside.
TIP #6: Take public transit if you can. The Richmond-Brighouse SkyTrain Station by the Richmond Centre shopping mall is less than a 10-minute walk away.
TIP #7: The Remembrance Day event in Richmond only lasts for about an hour, or perhaps an hour and a half if you count a bit of time before and after. While in the area, perhaps later in the day, consider exploring other parts of Richmond and making your trip even more worthwhile. Depending on the weather, your age and interests, other places to visit include the following:
- Britannia Heritage Shipyard – free to see and open to the public from 12 until 5 pm.
- Gulf of Georgia Cannery – a national historic site in Steveston Village.
- West Dyke Trail – a beautiful flat and paved pathway to walk along.
- Minoru Park – an urban park with fall colours.
- TBC Indoor Kart Racing – a fun indoor place for children ages 11 and older.
- Terra Nova Rural Park – home to the Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment that’s fun for children up to about 12 or 13.
- Watermania – one of the Lower Mainland’ best aquatic centres.
- Click Richmond for more ideas.
For more details about the event in Richmond see the City of Richmond‘s website.
For November 11th events in other parts of the Lower Mainland click Remembrance Day Events.