This Remembrance Day marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice that brought an end to the First World War.
Records show almost 5,700 members of the U of T community enlisted in the armed services during the Great War. Those who served included Norman Bethune, Lester Pearson, Lawren Harris, Sir Frederick Banting and Charles Best – and Lilly Denton Keys, a nursing sister who died of pneumonia during active service. More than 600 students, graduates, faculty and staff lost their lives, and hundreds more were wounded.
The university is holding events across its three campuses to honour soldiers and veterans, and mark the centennial of the armistice.
10:20 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Soldiers' Tower on the downtown Toronto campus
The annual service of remembrance will be held at the Soldiers' Tower, beside Hart House. The tower was built in 1924 as a memorial to those who served in the First World War.
Members of the military are requested to attend the ceremony in uniform.
Each service features the laying of wreaths and a recitation of In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, who received a bachelor's degree and a medical degree from U of T. McCrae died on the battlefield in 1918.
This year, U of T's resident carillonneur Roy Lee will debut a piece titled Everything that Rises Must Converge. It was commissioned for the centennial and written by engineering alumnus Scott Allan Orr.
Orr began learning to play the 51 bells in Soldiers' Tower as a student in 2012. He went on to graduate from the prestigious Royal Carillon School in Mechelen, Beglium, and is now working toward a PhD in the school of geography and the environment at Oxford University.
After the service, a reception will be held in Hart House’s Great Hall. The memorial room in Soldiers' Tower will also be open to visitors from 11. a.m. to 4 p.m.
10:40 a.m. at the flagpole in front of the William G. Davis Building at U of T Mississauga
Ulrich Krull, vice-president and principal of U of T Mississauga, will speak at the ceremony, which also includes a performance by the UTM Residence Choir. The ensemble will sing O Canada and In Flanders Fields.
At 7:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of Hart House
In Flanders Fields has become a staple of Remembrance Day ceremonies. Learn more about the poem's author, McCrae, with historian Hugh Brewster. His talk at Hart House encompasses McCrae's boyhood in Guelph, his student years at U of T and time in the trenches in the First World War. McCrae's life is illustrated with pictures and set to music by the Elora Singers, conducted by Mark Vuorinen. Tickets are $10 for students and $35 for the general public.
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The Canadian Forces 25 Field Ambulance unit will hold a service open to the public at Soldiers’ Tower, starting at 10 a.m. Student carillonneurs will play O Canada and God Save the Queen. The memorial room in Soldiers’ Tower will be open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The bells at Soldiers’Tower will play a big part in Remembrance Day ceremonies and concerts over the weekend (photo by Makeda Marc-Ali)
4:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
U of T carillonneur Lee will take part in Bells of Peace, a cross-country initiative by the Canadian Legion to toll carillon bells at the same time in each Canadian time zone. Lee will ring the bourdon, or largest bell, 100 times at sunset to mark the centennial of the armistice.
Lee will also play A Sacred Suite by Geert D'hollander, a piece commissioned for the inauguration of a replica carillon in Leuven, Belgium which replaces the original destroyed in the war. Lee rounds out the program with The Last Post, Amazing Grace and Scott Allan Orr's piece.
10:40 a.m. at the Meeting Place on the U of T Scarborough campus
U of T Scarborough’s string orchestra, concert choir and concert band will perform at the university’s final Remembrance Day ceremony.
The string orchestra will play the Somerset folk song O Waly, Waly arranged by John Rutter. The UTSC Concert Choir will perform In Flanders Fields and the concert band will play Homeward Bound, a contemporary tribute to soldiers returning from far-away wars, arranged by Brant Karrick.
All three groups will perform the national anthem accompanying the audience.
A trumpeter at a Remembrance Day ceremony in 2015 (photo by Ken Jones)