D-Day’s 80th anniversary honoured with parade and ceremony Sunday in Pickering


Published May 30, 2024 at 10:23 am

Photo Jill Hamilton

The 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings on Normandy beaches that turned the tide towards an Allied victory in the Second World War is still a week away but the City of Pickering and the local Royal Canadian Legion will get a head start with a parade and ceremony this Sunday.

To accommodate the D-Day Ceremony at the Cenotaph at City Hall and the parade on The Esplanade and along Valley Farm Road some of the streets will be closed to traffic from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Closures include The Esplanade South from Valley Farm Road to the outbound driveway of the Civic Complex parking lot (7 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and the front loop at the Chestnut Hill Developments Recreation Complex (10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.)

A rolling closure on Valley Farm Road will also occur at 10:45 am to accommodate the event.

Emergency vehicles will have access at all times.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the 75th anniversary D-Day ceremony in Normandy in 2019

The City and the Legion (Branch 606) have been honouring the anniversary of the D-Day offensive for many years. This year marks 80 years since 156,000 troops – including a Canadian contingent 14,000 strong – landed on four beaches on the Normandy coast.

Within a few days more than 325,000 troops and 50,000 vehicles – the largest land, air and sea military operation in history – were in battle on the staunchly defended beaches, with both sides suffering heavy casualties.

Canada lost more than 1,000 soldiers on Juno Beach that day and in the days to follow but despite heavy resistance managed to push further inland than any of their operation partners: the start of the year-long push into Germany and eventual victory.

There were plenty of heroes on this day, but those who made it through what could only be described as an apocalypse of bombs and artillery fire that greeted them on the landing would better describe themselves simply as survivors.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to make the pilgrimage to France Thursday for the official 80th anniversary ceremony.

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