CAMBRIDGE -- The Cambridge Poppy Project is blossoming into something much larger than anticipated, giving residents a collective creative outlet leading up to this year's Remembrance Day.

The project is an artistic salute to local veterans with handmade poppies, with the idea coming from an art display in the Niagara area.

"We've asked our community members and anybody in the Region of Waterloo to knit or crochet poppies," said Jayne Herring, project coordinator.

The initial goal in Cambridge was 10,000 poppies, but the team behind the project has now raised that to 20,000.

"You are sometimes looking at a thousand poppies that have been dropped off at the library," said Susan Cresswell, knitting and crocheting liaison.

The project is also a reflection of Cambridge's past.

"One of the things that is from this area is we are a textile community," said Sue Sturdy, alternative media project lead.

Come the fall, several schools and students will get involved.

"Already they've done a lot with their grandparents together to learn how to do it," said Heather Campbell, the project's school and community liaison.

The group plans to have all the poppies on display at local buildings from this year's Remembrance Day.

"From the Galt Preston Hespeler Idea Exchange buildings, and there will be some displays throughout the community," Herring said.

For the group, the project is helping residents feel stronger together during the pandemic.

"In a time of COVID where we are used to being together separately, and it's all allowed us to come together and work on this project," Herring said. "I just think it's given people a common focus … we have individuals who have done upwards of four or five hundred poppies on their own, and that just speaks volumes to how the community rallied around this."

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