EDMONTON -- People from labour, seniors and health advocacy organizations gathered on the Alberta legislature grounds Thursday to recognize the impact of the pandemic on Albertans.

On the one-year anniversary of the WHO's pandemic declaration, the groups including Friends of Medicare, United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) and Seniors' Action and Liaison Team (SALT) Alberta said the number of lives lost in Alberta is unacceptable.

According to AHS, of the 1,928 people who have died from the disease, 1,813 – or about 94 per cent – were aged 60 and up.

The groups laid out coloured-coded handmade roses symbolizing each victim and their age.

"We look at these flowers today and it is obvious our seniors have paid a very high price," said UNA president Heather Smith. "Will we in Alberta learn from what we have experienced over the last year?"

The groups are calling for "real change" from governments to protect seniors in the future.

"Seniors deserve better," said Terry Price, president of Public Interest Alberta. "We want higher standards of care governed by regulations that are enforced."

Meantime, the flags at all city buildings are at half mast and the High Level Bridge will be lit up in white Thursday night to honour COVID-19 victims.

In a statement, mayor Don Iveson thanked Edmontonians for their sacrifices over the last 12 months.

"As we weather what we all hope are the last months of this pandemic, I have no doubt Edmontonians will continue to manifest the strength, heroism and community spirit that has seen us through thus far," he said.