Thousands of people turned up at Vancouver’s Victory Square on a chilly Sunday to honour the country’s veterans and fallen soldiers.

Veterans, cadets, serving soldiers and other service men and women in uniform filled two city blocks.

For some, the annual Remembrance Day ceremony was a time to pay tribute to loved ones lost, or to reminisce. For others, such as those of the younger generation, it was an opportunity to learn about those strangers who sacrificed their lives for peace and freedom.

And for still some others, such as first-grader Valen Tiernan, it was about showing appreciation.

On Sunday, Valen and his father showed up with a box full of hand-made crafts. Valen had glued toy soldiers on 20 painted rocks. As soon as the 21-gun salute blasted its final rounds, and the wreaths were laid, Valen wandered around the crowd to give his gifts away.

“There’s about 20 older gentlemen who are World War Two guys, so we make 20 gifts,” said Valen’s father, Michael Tiernan.

He says Valen has been making different small gifts since he was two years old because his grandfather is a World War Two veteran.

Separate ceremonies were also held in Vancouver at the Japanese Canadian War Memorial in Stanley Park, and for Chinese-Canadian veterans in Chinatown, and the Olympic flame was lit in an early morning remembrance ceremony.

With files from CTV British Columbia’s Penny Daflos and The Canadian Press