Wreaths Across Canada Seeking Help for 2023 Ceremony

Five thousand balsam wreaths are set to be laid at The National Military Cemetery in Ottawa as Wreaths Across Canada holds its annual ceremony.

Thanks to Sunbelt Rental’s generous sponsorship over the last two years, Wreaths Across Canada is expecting 5,000 wreaths provided by Rose Enterprise in New Brunswick to arrive the first week of December.

Secured Balsam Wreaths

“We are very pleased to have secured 12-inch balsam wreaths to lay at our annual ceremony,” said Wreaths Across Canada President Cyndi Mills.

Mills noted that as a military spouse, military mom of two, and family members who served in the Second World War, attending the ceremony and coming together with other military community members at this time of year is comforting.

“As we carry on the legacy of the founder of the Wreaths Across Canada, Craig McPhee, we aim to grow the number of wreaths and ceremonies we host nationwide,” said Mills.

Volunteers building wreaths for the Wreaths Across Canada ceremony on Dec. 4, 2022.

Volunteer’s Needed

As in past years, the organization needs volunteers to help unload the wreaths from the truck, assemble bows on the wreaths and place the wreaths at the ceremony.

“Every year, we bring our military and veteran community together to prepare for the annual Wreaths Across Canada ceremony. It has become a highlight of the holiday season, where we celebrate our shared history and feel like a family gathering,” said Wreaths Across Canada Volunteer Coordinator Michelle Levesque. “Our volunteers play a crucial role in making the ceremony happen, and we need their help to attach red bows to the 5,000 balsam wreaths that will be delivered the Friday before the ceremony. We race against the clock to decorate all the wreaths and catch up with each other, knowing that it is the volunteers who make it all possible.”

Left, founder of Wreaths Across Canada Warrant Officer (ret’d) Craig McPhee. Right, Wreaths rest on headstones in Section 59 of Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, Dec. 19, 2017. On December 16, the cemetery hosted the Wreaths Across America event that brought over 75,000 volunteers to Arlington National Cemetery to place wreaths at gravesites. (U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser / Arlington National Cemetery / released).

Founder of Wreaths Across Canada

After seeing wreaths laid on the headstones of service members at the military cemetery in Arlington, VA, in 2007, retired Royal Canadian Air Force Warrant Officer Craig McPhee returned to Canada resolved to do something similar for Canadian service members. He created the charity Wreaths Across Canada, and they successfully held ceremonies nationwide.

“Craig passed away last year. He was so passionate about the organization; it was contagious. I pray we can grow it to its American counterpart, Wreaths Across America, to continue Craig’s mission,” said Mills.

McPhee passed away on Oct. 20 from the complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 84. He was laid to rest in the National Military Ceremony.

2023 Program

This year’s schedule:

  • Friday, Dec. 8: Unload wreaths at noon.
  • Saturday, Dec. 9: Add bows to wreaths from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec 10: Ceremony 1:30 p.m.

For more information about Wreaths Across Canada, visit here. People can also follow the charity on FacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram. For more information, email here.

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Canadian Military Family Magazine