During the First World War, the horrors of trench warfare, poison gas and tanks wrought carnage never before seen. About 9 million military personnel and 20 million civilians lost their lives in The Great War.
The devastation of war created fertile ground for the Papaver rhoeas to take seed and grow. Poppy seeds can remain dormant in the soil for as long as 100 years. Trench digging, bombs, and mass cemeteries caused millions of poppies to bloom in the disrupted soil across Europe. The common poppy would become the symbol of wartime sacrifice and remembrance.
Beginning with Guelph-born Lt. Col. John McCrae’s 1915 poem “In Flanders Fields”, this exhibition tells the story of the poppy as it evolved to be an enduring symbol of remembrance in Canada and around the world.