Decoration Day is to honour the veterans who survived the wars and came home. The graves of veterans are decorated with flags and a parade and service are held. The first Decoration Day in Hamilton was in 1928. Veterans marched from the Armories to Dundurn Park for a service. Then widows and veterans were then bused to the various cemeteries to decorate the graves. Another parade and service would be held at the Cenotaph in the afternoon.
In 1932, Eastlawn and Bartonville cemeteries were allocated to Branch 58 for the decorating and service. Branch 58 had always invited the other east end veterans clubs to participate and in 1956 asked them to be full partners. The East Hamilton Decoration Day Committee was formed and the present system of rotating the host club began. In 1966, permission was granted to hold the East End Decoration on a different date to allow better participation in the Cenotaph parade. The main Decoration Day would take place in early June and the East Hamilton Decoration Day would be in late August each year.
With the number of participants dwindling each year, the Decoration Days have been downsized. There is no longer a Cenotaph parade down town. A small parade takes place in either the Woodland or Hamilton Cemetery. The East Hamilton Decoration Day service takes place in Eastlawn Cemetery. All the veterans clubs participate in both parades.
Starting in 2017, the East Hamilton Decoration Day in August will be discontinued. Since there is only one Veterans club in the lower city outside East Hamilton, Her Majesty’s Army and Navy Association, it was decided to keep the original Decoration Day in June. The parade will alternate each year between Eastlawn and Woodland Cemeteries.