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Joint News Release: Orillia Remembrance Day services at OSMH cancelled due to pandemic concerns

For the health and safety of all those involved, and in keeping with expert advice from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), the 2020 Remembrance Day Services at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Branch 34 of the Royal Canadian Legion made the announcement today in conjunction with OSMH.

“We’re disappointed but we know it’s the absolute right thing to do in light of the circumstances we are all facing,” said Rick Purcell, 1st Vice-President of the local Legion.

“Given the location of the service at the main entrance to the hospital, and our community’s steadfast admiration for those who served, there is no way we could have ensured that outdoor gathering limits could be safely maintained.”

In lieu of a live ceremony on November 11th, the local Legion has partnered with Rogers Cable to pre-record a Remembrance Day service at Veteran’s Park, outside Legion headquarters in Orillia, which will be re-broadcast on Remembrance Day.

“Our hospital and the local Legion are uniquely connected in name and spirit,” said Carmine Stumpo, OSMH President and CEO.   “We share in their disappointment and fully understand and support the decision that has been made.”

Stumpo says the hospital will be holding a facility-wide moment of silence at the time the services are typically held and is exploring additional methods of showing their support for those who served.

“There have been previous years where we’ve been forced to move the ceremonies indoors due to inclement weather, but this is the first time we’ve had to cancel the ceremonies outright,” said Purcell.