Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

April 04, 2007 22:54 ET

Canada's New Government Announces Contingent Travelling to France for the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 4, 2007) - The Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today announced plans to lead a Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) contingent to France for events marking the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the dedication of the newly restored Canadian National Vimy Memorial. The VAC contingent will include Canadian Forces Veterans, representatives of Veterans' organizations and special guests.

"We will join thousands of Canadian and French citizens who are expected to visit Vimy for this momentous anniversary and witness the dedication of the beautifully restored memorial," said Minister Thompson. "This will include thousands of Canadian youth whose participation will help ensure that Canada's memory of Vimy Ridge and the First World War will never be lost."

The Department of National Defence is also sending a contingent of active Canadian Forces (CF) members to provide ceremonial support for the various Vimy anniversary events. It will include more than 300 service men and women representing each regiment that fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

In addition, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is sending a troop of 35 members to France for ceremonial and support duties, including a special mounted contingent. Many of the RCMP members in the troop have a family connection to the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

The capture of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917 is widely recognized as the most important battlefield victory in Canadian military history. It has often been described as the day modern Canada came of age as an independent nation. April 9, 2007, will be the first time since 1917 that April 9 has fallen on Easter Monday.

For more information on Vimy events, visit www.vac-acc.gc.ca or call toll-free 1 800 443-0394.

VIMY - Honour the Legacy

Backgrounder

Events in Canada and France to Mark

90th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

On April 9, Canada will mark the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge with high-profile events in Canada and in France. Below is an overview of the major public events surrounding this anniversary:

OTTAWA

Thursday, April 5, 12:15

Canadian War Museum

1 Vimy Place

Departure Event and Launch of Vimy Commemorative Coin

Official send-off for the Veterans Affairs Canada contingent and unveiling of the new Vimy coin by the Royal Canadian Mint.

The Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs; Ian Bennett, President of the Royal Canadian Mint; and Joe Geurts, CEO of the Canadian War Museum will be in attendance.

Sunday, April 8, 19:30

National War Memorial

Confederation Square,

corner of Elgin and

Wellington Streets

The Vimy Vigil

The names of the 3,598 Canadians who died during the Battle of Vimy Ridge will be illuminated one at a time on the Memorial, as well as photographic images of Canadians who served in the First World War.

Veterans, youth, MP Royal Galipeau and Canadian actor, R.H. Thomson (originator of the Vigil) will be in attendance.

Monday, April 9, 11:30

National War Memorial

Confederation Square,

corner of Elgin and

Wellington Streets

National Ceremony of Remembrance and Wreath-Laying The ceremony pays homage to the sacrifices, and recognizes the achievements, of all those who participated in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada and the Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence will be in attendance.

France

Saturday, April 7, 10:00

La Chaudiere Military

Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais

Burial of Private Herbert Peterson

Interment service for First World War soldier, Private Peterson, whose remains were discovered in Avion, a town near Vimy.

Those in attendance will include the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, 26th Governor General of Canada; the Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs; General Rick J. Hillier, Chief of Defence Staff, Canada; Claude Laverdure, Ambassador of Canada to France; and Madame Sandelle D. Scrimshaw, Minister Plenipotentiary, Embassy of Canada in France.

Saturday, April 7, 15:00

Givenchy-en-Gohelle

Plaque Unveiling

Unveiling of the plaque "Square des Byng Boys" by Mayor Robert Mieloch, the Mayor of Givenchy-en-Gohelle, and the Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs.

The soldiers in the Canadian Corps greatly respected Lieutenant General Sir Julian Byng, their Corps Commander, and would often call themselves the Byng Boys. "Square des Byng Boys" shows a remarkable knowledge and appreciation of Canadian military history by the town of Givenchy-en-Gohelle.

Saturday, April 7, 16:00

Thelus

Plaque Unveiling

Unveiling of the plaque "Rue des Artilleurs Canadiens" by Mayor Bernard Milleville, the Mayor of Thelus and the Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs.

The Canadian artillery monument stands in the town of Thelus in France. It sits at the intersection of the roads that connect Arras, Thelus and Farbus, and is often referred to as the "Canadian gunners' road."

Saturday, April 7, 20:30

Canadian National Vimy

Memorial

Lighting Presentation

Beginning with a candlelight procession from the back to the front of the monument and then using music, lighting and narrative, the 30-minute Lighting Presentation will offer a quiet time to reflect on the meaning of the Vimy Memorial. It will begin once darkness has fallen and will finish with the lighting of the entire monument.

Those in attendance will include the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, 26th Governor General of Canada; the Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs; the Honourable Michael M. Fortier, Minister of Public Works and Government Services; and General Rick J. Hillier, Chief of Defence Staff, Canada.

Sunday, April 8, 14:00

Place des Heros, Arras

Freedom of the City in Arras

The ceremonial granting of the Freedom of the City will take place in the Place des Heros in front of City Hall. The event consists of a military parade and ceremony.

Guests will include the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada; the Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs; the Honourable Michael M. Fortier, Minister of Public Works and Government Services; General Rick J. Hillier, Chief of Defence Staff, Canada; Mr. Claude Laverdure, Ambassador of Canada to France; and Madame Sandelle D. Scrimshaw, Minister Plenipotentiary, Embassy of Canada in France.

Monday, April 9, 15:00

Canadian National Vimy

Memorial

Ceremony of Remembrance and dedication of the newly restored

Canadian National Vimy Memorial The ceremony pays homage to the sacrifices and recognizes the achievements of all those who participated in the Battle of Vimy Ridge and highlights the importance of youth in remembrance.

Her Majesty The Queen, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Mr. Dominique de Villepin, Prime Minister of the Republic of France, are confirmed to attend this event.

Note - Events in France are listed in local time.

Restoration of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial is now officially complete. The site is once again open to the public, with some restrictions. For details on hours of operation, restrictions or any other information on Vimy, visit www.vac-acc.gc.ca.

There are also a number of regional events taking place across Canada. For a listing of local events, visit the Veterans Affairs Canada Web site at www.vac-acc.gc.ca.

VIMY - Honour the Legacy

Media are invited to attend all of the above listed events, however, must be accredited for the main ceremony in France on April 9. For more details, see contact information below.

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Stephanie Richardson
    Media Relations Advisor
    613-992-7428
    or
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    Gerald A. Lefebvre
    Director of Communications
    613-996-4649