Skip to main content

“Mad Joy Run Riot”

Black and white photograph showing a parade of nurses.

Peace Day in London, ON
1918. Reproduced from Christmas Echo, December, 1918, p. 13.

On November 11, 1918, the Armistice Day was celebrated in London, ON, with a fervour described by the newspapers as “Mad joy run riot”. Tens of thousands gathered for a truly massive parade, shops and businesses closed for the day, and a bonfire was held all night long in Victoria Park. Soon after the joyous celebration, Londoners concentrated on remembering the dead and honouring the living.

In 1919 temporary monuments were built for both the homecoming of soldiers and Armistice Day services. In April, a wooden “Welcome Arch” was erected over the Richmond and Dundas intersection. London’s own paraded triumphantly through the streets and under the arch upon their return. In November, churches throughout the city held Sunday services – setting the tone for Armistice Days to come – and a wooden Cenotaph was erected to commemorate the first anniversary of the day the Great War ended.

Crowds cheer soldiers passing under an arch.

Welcome Home
Ca. 1920. Reproduced from The Municipal Year Book 1920, p. 3.