CALGARY – Over the last four years the number of Canadians who say they will attend a Remembrance Day ceremony has gone up.

In an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Historica Canada, 41 per cent of respondents say they will be attending one of the many ceremonies across the country. That’s up two per cent from last year and a 16 per cent jump from 2016.

Historica said the increase likely reflects the realization that Second World War vets are dwindling in numbers, pointing out that the youngest Second World War veterans — those who would have been 18 in June 1945 — are now 92 years old

While baby boomers are most likely to wear a poppy (92 per cent versus the 81 per cent average), 45 per cent of millennials said they plan on attending an official service on Remembrance Day.

Baby boomers trailed the pack in this regard with only 38 per cent saying they would attend a ceremony. Between the boomers and the millennials in both age and planned attendance, 40 per cent of GenXers indicated they would be going to a ceremony on Nov. 11.

Historica Canada said millennials’ interest in attending Remembrance Day ceremonies may be the result of hearing veterans' stories in schools — a practice that has increased in the last decade — exposing younger generations to first-hand accounts of life during wartime.

"There is nothing quite like hearing about an event directly from those involved. Canadians are recognizing there are limited opportunities for that when it comes to the Second World War," said Anthony Wilson-Smith, president and CEO of Historica Canada. "At Historica Canada we work to keep their stories alive, through video interviews, podcasts and more. We’re glad to see an increasing number of Canadians are taking time to honour our veterans."

Almost everyone contacted by the pollsters (94 per cent) said hearing veterans speak about their experiences is the best way for youth to understand the reality of war.

Eighty per cent of respondents said they have say personally heard a veteran recounting their experience.

That is also an increase over past years when a similar question found 75 per cent (2015) and 73 per cent (2017) had listened to a veteran speak of their experience.

Other findings included:

  • Albertans are most likely to attend a remembrance ceremony (51 per cent), and most likely to wear a poppy (96 per cent), but least likely to take an active interest in military history (52 per cent).
  • On average, 55 per cent of Canadians took an active interest in military history, seeking information through books and movies. The greatest interest was in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (both 60 per cent).
  • Ninety per cent of respondents say they would like to see Remembrance Day become a national statutory holiday.

Ipsos conducted the poll between Oct. 21 and 24, 2019 interviewing 1,000 Canadians. Results are accurate to ±3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Full poll results are available here.