Every year in August, since 1921, serving Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans are honoured at the Warriors’ Day Parade, at the same time, it gives an opportunity to honour and remember those who have passed on.
The parade has been a 97-year tradition and is the longest running of its kind. This year it will take place on August 18, during the opening weekend of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto, ON.
“The parade is an important Canadian tradition and a very significant event for our Veterans, our brave men and women who currently serve in Canada’s military, their families and the general public,” said John Hymers, Warriors’ Day Parade council. “Police, Fire and Medical services also march in the parade, and it is a wonderful opportunity for the public to show their appreciation for the individuals as well.”
Freedom is not free, and Hymers said many Canadian soldiers paid for that freedom with their lives and added, we owe them everything. Even the ground upon which the CNE lies was where many Canadian soldiers joined the military and prepared for both First and Second World Wars.
“Many families who attend the parade tell us the stories of their parents and grandparents who did their military training on the CNE grounds,” said Hymers. “We can never forget those who have given us so much. Our volunteers feel a very strong duty to carry on with the parade in the memory of those who have passed the torch to us.”
The Warriors’ Day Parade is successfully executed each year by the Parade Council and a team of dedicated volunteers. A group of Veterans from the Sunnybrook Hospital and the Tony Stacey Centre attend the parade, and for many, it’s the highlight of the year. Hymers said the parade means a great deal to a lot of people, with about 2,000 people marching in the parade before approximately 10,000 spectators.
“This group of dedicated individuals works year-round to ensure a successful event. For everyone involved it is a great honour to contribute towards this event,” said Hymers. “Our reward is always paid back to us ten-fold when we see the smiling faces of veterans on the morning of the parade.”
The parade begins at 10:30 a.m., and usually goes to about noon.
“The CNE holds so many wonderful memories for military families, and after the parade, they enjoy the rest of their day doing what free people do best, have fun,” said Hymer.
This year General (ret’d) Walter Natynczyk is scheduled to be the reviewing officer.