Goulbourn Museum honours those who went before us with Poppies of Goulbourn display

The Poppies of Goulbourn display is a honourary poppy exhibit that spans the outside of the Goulbourn Museum and to which many community members contributed by crocheting poppies and sewing them to the installation. It is also a visually strong reminder of the military contributions the men and women of Goulbourn made over the years. In addition, the display celebrates our history as Ottawa’s first military community.

An annual exhibit to commemorate Remembrance Day, the display of poppies first began in 2018. The net has grown substantially since that first year through community and volunteer collaboration from near and far crafting the poppies each year. Becoming so large in fact, that this year the Museum recruited assistance from the firefighters at Ottawa Fire, Station 81 Stittsville, ensuring the net of poppies was safely installed with its full visual effect.

This year, the Museum was unable to partner with local retirement residences due to health protocols making the project much more difficult. For this reason, in addition to inviting everyone to participate through making poppies for the display and dropping them off in the donation bin, the Museum has invited residents to come fasten a poppy onto a section of netting set up for this purpose. (Please note: due to shipping delays, the Museum staff are hoping the netting arrives on time to allow residents to fasten their poppies.) Whether you’re making poppies to donate, or attaching one during a visit, everyone can get involved! To learn more about instructions on how to make a poppy, and how you can participate, visit the Poppies of Goulbourn page on the Museum’s freshly revitalized website!

Of the ongoing poppy project, Tracey Donaldson, Manager and Exhibition Curator for the Goulbourn Museum told Stittsville Central, “Poppies of Goulbourn is extremely important to us at the Museum. The former Goulbourn township is home to the oldest military settlement in the Ottawa area. For many in our community, military interpretation and acknowledging our veterans, is intrinsically tied to the history of the area. This initiative, started over five years ago, is a way for the Museum to support our community in remembering and honoring our veterans, both past and present. As many of us have our own personal connection to veterans through family, friends, or other loved ones it was important to provide community members with a means to contribute and show their appreciation. The display is beautiful, and the effect created by the cascade of falling poppies has great visual impact; but, its main goal is  to encourage people to stop and reflect on the enormous contributions of our veterans.”

“For me personally, speaking to Tracey and reflecting on the poppies, it really drove home a line from In Flanders Fields “They lived, saw dawn, saw sunset glow, loved, and were loved“. Soldiers aren’t machines, despite how governments might think and act sometimes – they’re human beings with people who love them immensely, and who have people they love equally in return. Every single loss leaves an indelible hole in the fabric of someone’s reality. Honoring the memories of the fallen is the least we can do for their sacrifice, and for the loved ones they leave behind,” added Stefan Hiratsuka, the Communications Officer at the Museum.

While pausing to remember those who have given their lives while serving in our nation’s armed forces, please visit the Poppies of Goulbourn display for a moment of remembrance and reflection.


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