Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

April 09, 2009 14:14 ET

Canada Remembers Vimy Ridge

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 9, 2009) - As the sun set over Vimy Ridge today, Canadian and French citizens gathered at the Vimy Ridge National Historic Site of Canada to mark 92 years since Canadians captured Vimy Ridge during the First World War.

Representing the Government of Canada at the ceremony were the Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of State and Chief Government Whip, on behalf of the Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and Marc Lortie, Ambassador of Canada to France. Pierre de Bousquet de Florian, Prefet of Pas-de-Calais, representing the French Republic, also attended the ceremony.

"Today, 92 years after that fateful Easter Monday, we mark the heroic efforts of those who defended our freedom on Vimy Ridge," said Minister Thompson, while marking the anniversary in Canada. "We pay tribute to our proud history and we honour those who continue to serve today."

The Canadian advance at Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917, marked the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Corps went into battle together. It was there, about eight kilometres northeast of Arras, France, that the Canadians accomplished what other allied forces could not-they captured Vimy Ridge. The Canadian success earned Canada a separate signature on the Versailles Peace treaty. This success came at a great cost-more than 10,000 casualties, of which 3,598 were fatal.

"Too many lives were lost at Vimy Ridge. Regardless of the uniform, brothers, fathers and sons would never return home to their families. This is a history we all share," said Minister O'Connor. "By remembering the men and women who did extraordinary things protecting our values, we can help future generations appreciate why these values remain so precious."

For more information on Canada's contribution in the First World War, visit the Veterans Affairs Canada Web site at www.vac-acc.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    International Operations
    Arlene King
    Director, External Relations and Visitor Activities
    (33) (0) 3-22-76-70-85
    or
    Veterans Affairs Canada
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    613-992-7468
    or
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    Richard Roik
    Director of Communications
    613-996-4649