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Canada marks Remembrance Day, 100 years since end of First World War

Last Updated Nov 11, 2018 at 12:52 pm PDT

A man touches the helmet on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after laying a poppy following the National Remembrance Day Ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. A new survey suggests Canadians of all generations are more likely to honour military veterans by attending a Remembrance Day ceremony this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA – Crowds of people have filled the square at Halifax’s Grand Parade to mark 100 years since the signing of the armistice that ended the First World War.

As the clock struck 11 a.m., the gun on nearby Citadel Hill fired the first of 22 shots.

The somber crowd stood in near-silence as it reflected on the battles that ended a century ago, and those that have come since.

The Halifax gathering is one of many across the country, including the national ceremony in Ottawa which will be attended by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan in place of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau was away in Paris, but his wife, Sophie, attended. This year has special significance, marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. Head Chaplain of the Armed Forces, Major General Guy Chapdelaine, marked the occasion.

“On the centennial of the signing of the armistice, we honour those whose names we know and those whose names are known to God alone,” Chapdelaine said

Governor General Julie Payette will attend the national ceremony alongside Sajjan, after returning from Belgium where she attended additional commemorative events.

Hundreds of people assembled at the national war memorial in the capital today in sunshine, but chilly temperatures, to honour Canada’s war dead and veterans.

Canada’s top soldier, General Jonathan Vance says this Remembrance Day is an opportunity to remind people of the sacrifices of service people, past and present.

“The war to end all wars didn’t, and conflict continues to this day and we stand as an armed forces ready to do what we have to do for the country,” the general said.

They paused at 11 a.m. to reflect on the sacrifices of Canadian men and women who have given their lives in conflicts around the world.

The ceremony includes a 21-gun salute as well as a flyover of five C-F-18 Hornet aircraft from Cold Lake, Alberta, flying in a “missing man” formation.

It’s one of dozens of ceremonies being held across the country.