Why a woman in Thunder Bay created this ‘poppy tree’ as a way to honour veterans this Remembrance Day


If you stroll close to Thornloe Park on Thunder Bay’s south facet in the present day, you will note a tree on the road that stands out from all the remaining. The tree is roofed with massive purple poppies — 300 to be actual — each hand crocheted by Nancy McKercher.

McKercher stated crocheting all of the poppies wasn’t her concept, and that it got here from a mission that started in southern Ontario.

“A pal of mine from Cambridge stated she was crocheting poppies throughout COVID-19 for the Cambridge Poppy mission,” stated McKercher. She was knowledgeable the Cambridge Poppy Project had a goal of 10,000 poppies.

McKercher stated she did not know what number of she may handle however agreed to do what she may. “So I began crocheting, however I did not get very far,” she stated. “Last yr I solely made about 100, however I used to be in a position to cowl the tree on the entrance of our yard.”

  • CBC News will likely be marking Remembrance Day on Friday with particular protection from Ottawa, beginning at 10 a.m. ET. Find all the small print right here.

This yr McKercher determined she would crochet sufficient to cowl the entire tree trunk. The result’s a putting array of blood purple crocheted poppies caught to the tree trunk with pins.

Thunder Bay’s Nancy McKercher hugs the poppy tree in her entrance yard. She crocheted 300 poppies and pinned them to the tree in her yard. (Gord Ellis/CBC)

McKercher stated the very first thing that comes into her thoughts when she thinks of Remembrance Day is the phrase freedom. Her mother lived via the Japanese invasion of China in the Second World War and father fought in opposition to communists through the Chinese revolution in 1949. 

“To this day they’d a very laborious time talking about what they’ve gone via,” she stated. 

McKercher stated on the Remembrance Day she will likely be fascinated by her dad who handed away two years in the past and what he did.

She stated she would even be fascinated by her pal Trudy McKinnon-Daniher.

“Her dad was all the time a massive affect on me,” she stated. “So I’ve named the tree after Hector McKinnon.”

McKercher hopes to develop the poppy tree subsequent yr and hopes different folks in Thunder Bay will be a part of in on the concept as nicely. She says she has already began crocheting additional poppies for Remembrance Day 2023.

“We cannot overlook,” she stated. “All the folks, the army, the personnel and all people who took half to struggle for our freedom. We have to keep in mind.”


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