Canadians first wore the poppy as a symbol of remembrance in 1921. The inspiration was Canadian John McCrae's poem, In Flanders Fields.
The tradition began with two women, an ocean apart. Upon reading McCrae's lines, American Moina Michael was moved to compose her own poem and pledged to wear a red poppy in remembrance. In France, Madame Anne Guerin was inspired both by McCrae and Michael. In 1921 Guerin convinced veterans' organizations in both Britain and Canada to adopt the poppy as a symbol of remembrance.
For the first year Canada bought poppies from Guerin's organization in France. The next year, and continuing to 1996, Canada's poppies were made in Vetcraft shops by disabled veterans. Since then, the Royal Canadian Legion has assumed responsibility for poppy production and contracts a Canadian company to make them.
Poppies are worn by millions of Canadians each year in the days leading to Remembrance Day on Nov. 11. When the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was unveiled at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Remembrance Day 2000, a new tradition was born as many in the crowd laid their poppies on the tomb.