Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

March 07, 2005 14:02 ET

Media Advisory: Media Invited to Witness Vimy Memorial Restoration



MARCH 7, 2005 - 14:02 ET

Media Advisory: Media Invited to Witness Vimy Memorial

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 7, 2005) - On November 5, 2004,
the Honourable Albina Guarnieri, Minister of Veterans Affairs, on behalf
of the Government of Canada, declared 2005 the Year of the Veteran. As
part of the Year of the Veteran, Veterans Affairs Canada is organizing a
small media tour to Vimy, France, to witness the current work being
conducted to restore and rehabilitate the Canadian National Vimy
Memorial, meet the professionals involved in this work, and view and
learn about some of Canada's other First World War memorials in the
region. The tour will be conducted April 6-11, 2005 and will include an
onsite remembrance ceremony on April 9, Vimy Day, to mark the 88th
anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Spaces are limited, so
interested reporters should contact the number below by March 21.
Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) is prepared to defray the costs of
Canadian media accommodation and travel. For media outlets with a pay
policy, costs are estimated to be approximately $1,700 per person.

Canadian Battlefield Memorials Restoration Project

On May 24, 2001, the Canadian Government announced a $30 million project
to repair and restore the Vimy Memorial as well as Canada's 12 other
First World War Battlefield Memorials in Europe. With the exception of
the Vimy Memorial, in most cases this work has been completed. On
November 24, 2004, the Government announced the awarding of a $16.3
million contract to the Belgian firm of Monument Vanderkerckhove S.A.
for the restoration of the Vimy Memorial. One of the subcontractors
hired by the Belgian firm is a Canadian firm. Currently the monument
itself is not accessible to the public; however, other areas of the
battlefield park remain open. Special guided access into the
construction area will be arranged during this trip.

The Vimy Memorial was unveiled in 1936. The passage of time, wear and
tear, and harsh weather conditions have led to the monument's
deterioration, including significant water damage. Its restoration
requires more than routine maintenance. The work includes repairing the
Monument's stone, walkways, walls, terraces, stairs and platforms;
addressing the problems of thermal expansion and contraction of the
masonry; and restoring damaged names that were inscribed on the monument
to publicly record the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who gave their
lives in France during the First World War and have no known grave. The
Vimy Memorial is a designated National Historic Site of Canada, and the
restoration work will respect the historical and cultural integrity of
the original monument design by the artist and architect, Walter S.

For more information on the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the Vimy Memorial, and
the current restoration project, visit the Veterans Affairs Canada web
site at (see "Canada Remembers" then "Memorials" or


Contact Information

    Veterans Affairs Canada
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    (613) 992-7468