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Remembrance Day Project Teaches Students Local History



poster about warrant officer Leonard Strickland


It was a couple of years back when Teacher Henrique Da Costa stumbled upon the  Poppy Maps of Canada’s Fallen shared by journalist Patrick Cain (Global TV). Being a bit of a cartographer aficionado himself, he was drawn to the map, recognizing its historical significance as well as an opportunity to bring history to life for his students.
So, for the past few years, he has been creating a life size display of the poppy file in the front foyer as a dedication to the surrounding neighbourhood's fallen heroes. Combining geography, cartography and historical research, his students went about mapping the war casualties from their own community.
His idea behind the display was to bring Remembrance Day to life and help it resonate with students who live in the same neighbourhood. Also, he wanted to create some kind of connection with the community; to let them know that people who roamed our streets and lived in homes like ours made the ultimate sacrifice. They created a life size map of the neighbourhood, placed a poppy on each address, and had a profile along with a newspaper clipping/media piece associated with that particular soldier. For authenticity, Mr. Da Costa also visited various Toronto heritage websites to retrieve old photos from the era in the community.
This year, one of his students said she found photos and news articles of the individual she was researching. So, they delved deeper as a class and found the Canadian Veterans Affairs site 'Canadian Virtual “Memorial”:
This provided the class with an even more in-depth look at the neighbourhood's fallen soldiers. The students really took to it and felt a connection with their particular soldier, their age, their kin, and their experience. It helped put a face to the people who went over to fight for our country. The students really enjoyed this project and felt an obligation to present their soldier in the best way possible.