100 years after the First World War, Canadians say Remembrance Day is as relevant as ever

November 9, 2015

Country divided over whether youth understand the sacrifices of those who died in conflict

Toronto – November 9, 2015 – A Historica Canada poll commissioned ahead of November 11th has found most Canadians (82%) believe Remembrance Day is just as relevant today as it was when it first began, in the wake of the First World War.


Canadians are split, however, over whether youth appropriately honour veterans. The poll, conducted by Ipsos-Reid, found not quite half (46%) of Canadians agree that Canada’s youth understand the sacrifices of those who have died in conflict.


Despite this belief, respondents aged 18 to 34 were the most likely to say they will attend a Remembrance Day ceremony this year. Four in ten (39%) Canadians in that age bracket say they plan to attend a service, compared to three in ten (32%) Canadians overall.


“Ten per cent of Canada's population served during World War Two, meaning everyone felt the effects,” said Anthony Wilson-Smith, President and CEO of Historica Canada. “It can be hard today to appreciate the scale of that contribution - but we see that Canadians of all ages remain appreciative.”


Remembrance Day means different things to Canadians. The majority of Canadians say they use the day to honour veterans of historic wars such as the First and Second World Wars (92%), or Canadians who have died in any conflict (91%). Commemoration goes beyond that, however, to include:

  • Canadian veterans of more recent wars, like Afghanistan – 81%
  • The goal of peace, in general – 81%
  • Canadians currently serving in the Armed Forces – 80%
  • Those from other countries who have died in war, even if Canada didn’t participate – 58%

The online survey also found three quarters (75%) of Canadians have heard a veteran speak about their experience in the military, whether it was from someone they know personally (41%), online or in film (32%) or in a community or classroom setting (27%), similar to the visits organized by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada.


Historica Canada is the country’s largest organization dedicated to enhancing awareness of Canadian history and citizenship.


Full poll results are available here.


These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between October 22 and October 26, 2015, on behalf of Historica Canada.  For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval.  In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ - 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.


For more information:

Andrea Hall, communications coordinator


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