A time-honoured tradition of the Canadian National Exhibition, the annual Warriors’ Day Parade will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Second World War on Saturday, Aug. 22.
Many Second World War veterans will be in attendance as spectators and honorary parade marshals from each branch of the Canadian Armed Forces to represent this year’s theme. But President of the Warriors’ Day Parade Council, Mark Stephens, explained that the parade is to recognize all veterans and military members who are currently serving.
“The parade started just after World War One, and it was to celebrate the fellows coming home. It’s to recognize and celebrate everyone that was in the forces, and it’s important to carry on to this day not just to remember them but for the families. We get comments after the parade saying ‘thank you very much it’s so great I can remember my father, grandfather and to recognize people who have served in the Canadian Forces’,” said Stephens.
Founded in 1921, the Warriors’ Day Parade has a different theme each year and different dignitaries in attendance. This year’s dignitaries to take the salute will be Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell and Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan H. Vance.
Close to 2,500 marchers and anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 spectators are expected at this year’s parade.
Arrangements have been made for veterans from various hospitals and homes including Tony Stacey Centre for Veteran’s Care and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre to enjoy the parade.
Second World War veteran Walter Ward, a pilot who flew nearly 100 missions to Europe, is honoured to be a part the event. This is his first time at a Warriors Day Parade.
“I feel very fortunate to be able to participate particularly as I am supposed to be representing the RCAF. This means a lot to me,” said Ward.
Complimentary parking is available for veterans, and many local public transportation services are offering complimentary rides for veterans attending the Warriors Day Parade. The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. Visit www.thewarriorsdayparade.ca for more information.