Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

April 07, 2006 14:21 ET

Veterans Affairs Canada: Battle of Vimy Ridge Remembered

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 7, 2006) - The Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, together with Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Pierre Duran, Deputy Defence Attache, Embassy of France, commemorated the First World War's Battle of Vimy Ridge today by laying a wreath at the National War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Veterans from the Second World War, the Korean War and more recent Canadian Forces missions, along with Parliamentarians and Powin Lau, also laid a wreath to pay tribute to the achievement and sacrifice of Canadians at Vimy Ridge. Ms Lau laid her wreath on behalf of the Youth of Canada as this year's Canadian winner of the Lions Clubs International Annual Peace Poster Contest.

"The Canadian success at Vimy Ridge carried a heavy cost but with the dramatic loss came a tremendous legacy. The triumph at Vimy would help unite Canadians in pride and it would mark a significant turning-point for the Allies," said the Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs. "With only three known Canadian surviving Veterans of the First World War, I implore today's youth and tomorrow's children to proudly carry the torch of remembrance and ensure the sacrifices and achievements of our Veterans are never forgotten."

In addition to the national ceremony in Ottawa, events in honour of the 89th anniversary are taking place in other areas across Canada, including Winnipeg, Manitoba. A memorial ceremony in honour of those who fought in the First World War will be held at Vimy Ridge Park in Winnipeg on Sunday, April 9 at 2:00 p.m. Overseas, the same day, a ceremony will be conducted at 11:00 a.m. at Canadian Cemetery No. 2 on the grounds of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge began April 9, 1917, and 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 took Vimy Ridge. The Canadian success earned Canada a separate signature on the Versailles Peace treaty. Four Victoria Crosses (VC) were awarded for bravery at Vimy Ridge, three earned on the first day of battle. The cost was more than 10,000 casualties, of which 3,598 were fatal.

Canada's national memorial in Europe to the First World War is located in France at Vimy Ridge National Historic Site of Canada. The central feature of the 117-hectare site of original battleground is the National Vimy Memorial, which commemorates the more than 66,000 Canadians who fought and died in Europe during the First World War. Restoration by the Government of Canada of the National Vimy Memorial is on schedule and expected to be complete in time for re-dedication on the 90th anniversary of the battle on April 9, 2007.

For more information about the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Canadians in the First World War or the restoration of the National Vimy Memorial as part of the Canadian Battlefield Memorials Restoration Project, visit the Veterans Affairs Canada Web site at www.vac-acc.gc.ca

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    (613) 992-7468
    www.vac-acc.gc.ca.