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Thousands of knitted poppies pour in for Elora church remembrance project (6 photos)

The art installation will be on display at St. John's Church in Elora until Nov. 14

ELORA – An Elora church set a goal for 1,500 knitted poppies for an art installation but the end result far surpassed anyone's expectations. 

St. John’s Anglican Church ended up with over 7,000 knitted poppies from over 100 people from the church, but also across the community, country and even the world. 

Rev. Judy Steers, assistant curate at St. John’s, said they had a vision of what it would potentially look like but weren’t expecting how it ultimately looked.

“Once it was all up, everyone was just in awe, we were just amazed at how amazing it looked,” Steers said, adding it is beautiful but also has meaning and weight behind it.

The poppy project was inspired by a 2018 project by the Anglican Cathedral Church of the Redeemer in Calgary and a similar project this year in Cambridge

The church’s knitters and quilters group decided to launch a project to mark the 100th year of the poppy being as a symbol of remembrance — called its centenary.

Steers said it was important for them to make a strong statement through this collaborative art piece on working for peace. 

“Peace in remembrance became the theme of the installation,” Steers said. 

“People will see and reflect on different things. For some they remember members of their family who were veterans, they remember the costs to their own family of war time. For some people this is an active memory, it is still part of their lives.”

The outdoor installation can be seen at 36 Henderson St. in Elora until Nov. 14. The poppies have been stitched together and hang in bunches around the parishioner’s office, from the steeple and at various entrances. 

Due to the amount of knitted poppies received, other places around town also have their own displays. 

Steers also noted this project showed the power of connection through a collaborative process, recalling one older woman who felt isolated during the pandemic getting to be a part of something big. 

“She really felt like she was doing a small thing to contribute to a greater thing and collaborative art is so powerful like that to bring people together,” Steers said. 

Steer said this project was approved by the national poppy coordinator and the local legion. 

The church will be holding a special service on Sunday Nov. 7 at 11 a.m. that includes an act of remembrance. The service will have limited capacity and pre-registration is required or it can be viewed by livestream.