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  • Candles of Remembrance (Groesbeek, ) - December 24, 2021 December 24, 2021
    On the 24th December at The Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek Holland, 2,619 candles will be placed in the cemetery where a small ceremony to remember the war dead will be held. One candle will be placed on every grave in the cemetery.
    Government of Canada; Veterans Affairs Canada
  • Navan Remembrance Day Services (Navan, Ontario ) - November 11, 2021 November 11, 2021
    The Navan Remembrance Day Service at the Navan Cenotaph has been cancelled due to COVID19 restrictions. In its place the annual Remembrance Day services will be held online. You will be able to view a video of the services by going to the NCA website at www.navan.on.ca and following the link beginning on October 30th. In addition, wreaths […]
    Government of Canada; Veterans Affairs Canada
  • Battle of Passchendaele (N/A, Ontario ) - November 10, 2021 November 10, 2021
    Canadians have a proud history of bravely serving in the cause of peace and freedom over the years. A name from Canada's First World War military heritage that still stirs emotions is “Passchendaele.” On a muddy battlefield in northwest Belgium, Canadians overcame almost unimaginable hardships to win an impressive victory in the fall of 1917. […]
    Government of Canada; Veterans Affairs Canada
  • Remembrance Day Ceremony (Thetford Mines, Quebec ) - November 7, 2021 November 7, 2021
    Veterans, serving members, cadets and the residents of the greater Thetford Mines region will attend a Remembrance Day ceremony on November 7 at 13:30.  
    Government of Canada; Veterans Affairs Canada
  • Rucksack March for Remembrance (Arichat, Nova Scotia ) - November 6, 2021 November 6, 2021
    Rucksack March for Remembrance Charity fund raiser walk in support of Wounded Warriors Canada. Distances 3/5/8km Weighted Rucksack optional. Registration by Donation:  https://woundedwarriorscanada.akaraisin.com/ruckforremembrance/islemadame  
    Government of Canada; Veterans Affairs Canada
  • Special Remembrance Service for the fallen soldier who died on Canadian soil (Cobble Hill, British Columbia ) - October 22, 2021 October 22, 2021
    Remembering is not just for November 11th.  On Friday, October 22, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #134 will specially honour those Canadian service men and women who perished while serving on Canadian soil. This date was selected to signify our respect to those who guard Canada, readily serving on a daily basis in the armed […]
    Government of Canada; Veterans Affairs Canada
  • 783(Calgary) Wing RCAFA Battle of Britain Commemoration (Calgary, Alberta ) - October 19, 2021 October 19, 2021
    A virtual commemoration of the 81st Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
    Government of Canada; Veterans Affairs Canada
October 20, 2021

Veterans News

Remember Everyone Deployed

How therapeutic clowns are making a difference for Canadian veterans

2 min read

Oh, thank you and look at you! You’re wearing my favorite tie! In a quiet room in Sunnybrook’s Veterans Centre, Helen Donnelly and Phil Koole transform into their alter egos: Kat and Yope. A few minutes later, they start their work with the residents living on the unit. But make no mistake: this is not just fun and games. So top three misconceptions about our profession: that we are volunteers, that we are undertrained and that we are fluff. Helen is an award-winning professional therapeutic clown and her career has brought her from the stage of Cirque du Soleil to now spearheading the first North American certificate program for therapeutic clowning. This unique George Brown College Program is now being trialed at Sunnybrook’s Veterans Centre. We use connectivity, light, joy through the art of clown in order to make a connection with those in care. And because we are professional physical theatre artists, we’re able to go into those worlds of the imagination and really connect to that quality of care piece. She says therapeutic clowns are trained arts in health practitioners, backed by research supporting the benefits to patients, including reduced isolation, pain and stress.

Period clothing familiar to the veterans is an intentional move. Katherine Baldwin, manager of recreation and creative arts therapies says, many residents are living with dementia, and the clowning helps reach them in a new way. A lot of what they tune into are picking up on those subtle moments of engagement, so I think it’s a way of reaching a population of people who are hard to reach. Each three hour shift on the unit means additional hours of background prep, working with staff and getting to know each resident’s medical history, interests and overall behavior. All interactions and reactions are then charted for the medical team. Students in the program initially shadow Helen and her colleague before clowning alongside them.

The final stage is partnering with a fellow student while being supervised, evaluated and debriefed afterwards. The program will be evaluated at the end of the school year in May. For now, Helen says every visit is a chance to connect with a veteran, no matter their physical or cognitive abilities. To get to this place is just a beautiful dream come true. With Sunnyview, I’m Monica Matys. .

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