Thousands of hand-knit poppies are on display on the exterior of the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer thanks to the effort of the church’s volunteer knitting club as well as contributions from outside the province.

The poppies, which are the fruits of nearly a year’s worth of labour, have been fastened to nets and strewn across the church’s façade and through the trees on the property. The exact number of poppies has not been confirmed as organizers lost count after 8,000 of the flowers had been created.

“I know that the vision was something like this,” said Diana Patterson, a parishioner who helped knit and tie the poppies to the nets. “I really didn’t think it would happen but it did! It’s just amazing.”

The 20 members of the group normally knit blankets for newborns but decided to adopt the remembrance cause after one of the volunteers encountered a similar poppy display during a trip to the United Kingdom. Word of their effort spread and knitters began to send their own poppies to contribute to the project.

“It’s incredible and I don’t think we thought that we’d have that interest but people heard from word of mouth,” said Reverend Leighton Lee, Dean of Calgary. “All of a sudden poppies are showing up from B.C., Alberta, United States, New Zealand. In some instances, we don’t even know really who they are but obviously they had some sort of a connection and wanted to participate.”

Feedback from the public to the poppy display has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The people, they love it,” added Reverend Lee. “They’re so happy to see it. They’re interested. They love the fact that we’ve done something for the significant anniversary, the 100th anniversary of armistice. People stop, they take pictures, they want to touch them and admire, very respectful of course.”

The display is scheduled to remain in place through Remembrance Day before it is removed and dried. The poppy nets will be placed in storage ahead of the fall of 2019 and the knitting club is considering added more flowers for next year.

With files from CTV’s Kevin Fleming