Government of Canada invests in overseas memorials to preserve Canada’s legacy
1 March 2023 – Ottawa, ON – Veterans Affairs Canada
During the First World War and the Second World War, thousands of Canadians bravely served overseas to defend world democracy and freedom. Sites and memorials, such as the Canadian National Vimy Memorial and the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial, keep alive the achievements and sacrifices of those who served Canada in times of war and peace.
Today, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, visited the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. To help preserve Canada’s legacy, he announced an investment of $11.7M over six years and almost $300K annually to maintain, modernize and enhance visitors’ experience at Canada’s 15 overseas memorial sites.
Most of this funding will be invested in the Canadian National Vimy Memorial and the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial. These are Canada’s only two national historic sites overseas. At the other 13 memorial sites, we will develop and add new interpretative panels and highlight the stories of Canadians who served overseas.
The Vimy and Beaumont-Hamel memorial sites are iconic representations of Canada overseas. Together, these sites welcome almost 900,000 visitors every year, including Canadians, visitors from around the world, local citizens and thousands of school children.
“Canada’s 15 memorial sites represent connections to family members and friends, and a reminder of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice while fighting for peace. It is vital that we care for these sites to help ensure the footprints our soldiers, aviators and sailors left behind here in Europe never fade away. I’m so pleased that this funding will maintain, modernize and enhance the experience visitors will have at the monuments and memorials that honour those sacrifices.”
The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
The work will range from upgrades to signage, exhibits and experiences on the sites to special events, digital and multimedia supports and educational programming. We will also add more inclusive stories about Indigenous, racialized, women and 2SLGBTQI+ Veterans.
These sites and monuments are almost 100 years old and most buildings are 50-70 years old. Such historic sites overseas require constant maintenance and upgrades to present meaningful and impactful visits.
Historical and cultural sites and museums in Canada, and around the world, recognize a strong visitor experience as an essential, baseline, industry standard.
Critical work and visitor experience improvements are essential to ensure Canada’s memorials in France are ready to welcome the world during the 2024 Paris Olympics and the 110th anniversary of the Battles of Vimy Ridge and Beaumont-Hamel.
Veterans Affairs Canada
Erika Lashbrook Knutson
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
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