Tens of thousands expected to gather at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France to mark Vimy 100
Canada’s First World War story presented in a sombre artistic performance
March 24, 2017 – Ottawa – Veterans Affairs Canada
On Sunday, April 9, the Government of Canada will host a signature commemorative ceremony at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, in France, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the First World War.
Well-known Canadian actors and musicians, in the presence of dignitaries, Veterans, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and thousands of Canadian youth, will participate in an historically inspired, artistic ceremony that pays homage to the sacrifices and achievements of all those who participated in the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917.
The hour and a half ceremony will feature musical performances, commemorative elements such as a moment of silence and wreath laying; and historical content to highlight the significance of the First World War for Canada and the importance of passing the torch of remembrance to the youth of today. The ceremony will also include a replica biplane flypast over the Canadian National Vimy Memorial by a team of dedicated volunteer pilots and builders known as Vimy Flight.
The storyline will be built on the history of the battle, the people who participated and witnessed it, and the Canadian values which are carved into the monument and remain relevant to this day.
Boots of the Fallen, a pre-ceremony element, will see thousands of Canadian Armed Forces boots placed on-site throughout the afternoon. Laid by Canadian and French youth, these boots represent the approximately 3,600 Canadians who died during the Battle of Vimy Ridge and their legacy for Canadians today.
Canadians unable to travel to France are invited to experience the ceremony by watching the live broadcast on CBC Television, CBC News Network, Radio-Canada and RDI on April 9 (please visit Canada.ca/vimy-100 for updates).
In honour of this significant anniversary, commemorative events will also take place on April 8 and 9 at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. An official delegation consisting of Veterans, youth and government representatives will gather in Ottawa to participate in programming between April 6 and 9. The Government of Canada is also working closely with provincial and territorial governments to organize events across Canada. Canadians are encouraged to participate in commemorative ceremonies taking place across Canada to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
“One hundred years after Canada’s most famous battle of the First World War, the Battle of Vimy Ridge, we will gather to remember and reflect on those who gave so much for our freedom. These thoughtful and moving commemorative events demonstrate our ongoing commitment to honour the contributions and achievements of Canadians and keep their memory alive for future generations.”
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
Part of the broader Arras offensive, the Battle of Vimy Ridge began on the morning of April 9, 1917. The four-day battle was the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought together as one formation. The Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge is considered to be a defining moment for Canada.
More than 650,000 Canadians would serve in uniform by the end of the First World War. The conflict took a huge toll, with more than 66,000 Canadians losing their lives and 170,000 being wounded.
Canada’s most impressive tribute overseas to those Canadians who fought and gave their lives in the First World War is the majestic and inspiring Canadian National Vimy Memorial which overlooks the Douai Plain from the highest point of Vimy Ridge, about ten kilometres north of Arras.
A number of other events will take place in France to mark the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Check Canada.ca/vimy-100 regularly for further details about the ceremony which will be posted here as they become available.
- 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge
- Canadian National Vimy Memorial
- Canadian produced sound and light show featured in Arras, France as part of Vimy 100 commemorative activities (news release)
- Government of Canada to mark 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge (news release)
- Remembrance Video
- Performances (backgrounder)
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Affairs Canada
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