#100DaysofVimy – March 21st, 2017

Each Tuesday, we will feature a place in Canada (or international!) with a Vimy Ridge connection. Today we highlight:

The Sailors’ Memorial Clock – Old Port of Montreal

In 1919, the cornerstone of the Sailors’ Memorial Clock was laid by future King Edward VIII, in the Old Port of Montreal. The clock tower is dedicated to the memory of Canadian sailors lost in the First World War. The Vimy Pilgrims departed Canada’s shores from harbour sheds at the foot of the tower in 1936. Visitors today can climb the tower’s 192 steps for a view of the city and harbour along the St. Lawrence River.

Just as many had done during the war, the Vimy Pilgrims of 1936 departed for France from the Montreal Harbour. Depicted here are Sheds 18 & 19 beneath the Sailors’ Memorial Clock in 1926.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of Interior / Library and Archives Canada / e008439076 / PA-044196.

#100DaysofVimy – March 14th, 2017

Each Tuesday, we will feature a place in Canada (or international!) with a Vimy Ridge connection. Today we highlight:

Memorial Hall Windows – Kingston’s Historic City Hall

Following the Armistice in 1918, the City of Kingston commissioned Robert McCausland Limited of Toronto to create ten stained glass windows for the City Hall. Sponsored by organizations and individual citizens  of Kingston, the windows commemorate the numerous branches of the city’s war effort and significant Canadian victories. Officially dedicated in 1921, “Memorial Hall” stands as a unique commemoration in Kingston’s Historic City Hall.

“Lens” – Many of Kingston’s Memorial Hall windows were inspired by wartime photographs. The “Lens” window was based on an image from “Queen Mary’s Gift Book”.
Credit: City of Kingston, 2017.
“Vimy” – The “Vimy” window replicates the photograph of Canadian Private Donald Johnston McKinnon, walking back from the front in March 1917.
Credit: City of Kingston, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Private Donald Johnston McKinnon, No. 7 Platoon, 73rd Battalion, CEF – France, March 1917.
Credit: W.I. Castle / Library and Archives Canada / PA-000867.

#100DaysofVimy – March 7th, 2017

Each Tuesday, we will feature a place in Canada (or international!) with a Vimy Ridge connection. Today we highlight:

Vimy Ridge Armoury, Lethbridge AB.

In 2001, the Canadian Forces armoury at Kenyon Field, Lethbridge County Airport was renamed the Vimy Ridge Armoury. Occupied today by the 20th Independent Field Battery of the Royal Canadian Artillery, the Vimy Ridge Armoury was dedicated to the members of the 20th and 39th Batteries, Canadian Field Artillery, for the role they had in the Battle for Vimy Ridge. Both Batteries were mobilized and recruited from the volunteers of Lethbridge and surrounding towns of Alberta.

In commemoration of the centennial, the Galt Museum in Lethbridge, Alberta has launched its own exhibit: “Perpetuating the Memory of Vimy“.

The 20th Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery, departs from Lethbridge by train to Camp Sewell, Manitoba, in 1915.
Courtesy: Galt Museum, Accession Number 19981035043.
Behind the lines at the Canadian Corps Horse Show, 20th Battery gunners and Divisional Train transport troops “wrestle on horseback”, Reninghelst, Belgium, 1916. The Div. Train troops were declared the victors.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-000391.

#100DaysofVimy – February 28, 2017

Each Tuesday, we will feature a place in Canada (or international!) with a Vimy Ridge connection. Today we highlight:

Vimy Ridge Public School, Ajax ON.

In 2009, the Durham District School Board named its new public gradeschool in Ajax, Ontario, Vimy Ridge Public School, in honour of Canadian veterans and the values represented in the legacy of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The school’s motto strongly reflects that dedication: “Respect, Integrity, Courage, Honour”.

The Durham District School Board accepted submissions regarding the naming of the school, deciding to recognize the significance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in the forging of the Canadian identity.

At Vimy Ridge P.S., the Vimy Squadron pursues a shared vision of excellence in citizenship and achievement.  This is accomplished by fostering leadership in all members of the school community; teachers, parents, and students. With a curriculum and culture that embeds the RICH qualities of respect, integrity, courage and honour, the school embodies the belief that all members of the community have the potential of being Everyday Heroes, acting as powerful agents of change and making a significantly positive impact on our community and the world.

Since the school opened, the focus on being everyday heroes has empowered students and made Vimy Ridge a safer, more caring school.  Each year, the Vimy Squadron continues to develop Everyday Heroes and, in turn, a growing sense of community by making history every day.

Every year on, or close to April 9th, the school commemorates the Battle of Vimy Ridge with a candlelight ceremony.  This year, the school will have two ceremonies:  one on April 9th for the school community, and one for students on April 13th.  Staff, students, community and honoured guests, including members of the Royal Canadian Legion and the Canadian Corps Association, will remember, honour, and connect to the events 100 years ago.  Just as the four divisions of the Canadian Corps planned and worked together to achieve what was thought to be impossible, staff and students at Vimy Ridge Public School work together to create a shared vision of what they wish the world to be.

A metal mural replica of the Vimy Memorial and a remembrance display case at the entrance to Vimy Ridge Public School, by artist Geordie Lishman.
Credit: Vimy Ridge Public School, 2017.
A second mural of the Vimy Memorial. During the school’s inaugural year, first year students each created a self-portrait on river rock, to be included in the work by artist Geordie Lishman.
Credit: Vimy Ridge Public School, 2017.

#100DaysofVimy – February 21, 2017

Each Tuesday, we will feature a place in Canada (or internationally!) with a Vimy Ridge connection. Today we highlight:

Valour Road, Winnipeg MB

Frederick William Hall, VC.
Credit: Canada, Department of National Defence.
Robert Shankland, VC, the only one of three from Valour Road to survive the war.
Credit: Canada, Department of National Defence.

Similar to the Memorial Avenues honouring the fallen across the country, Valour Road in Winnipeg was dedicated to three sons of the city, but with a particular twist. In 1925, Winnipeg’s Pine Street was renamed Valour Road, in honour of its three former occupants, all of whom received the Victoria Cross in the First World War.  Sergeant-Major Frederick William Hall (1915), Corporal Leo Clarke (1916) and Lieutenant Robert Shankland (1917) were awarded the Victoria Cross at different points of the war, but all called Pine Street home when they first enlisted. Sadly, Shankland was the only one of the three to survive the war, seeing action at Vimy Ridge and serving again in the Second World War. In recent years, the story of the three men from Valour Road was featured in a Historica Canada Heritage Minute. Their medals are held by the Canadian War Museum.

Seated on the far right is Leo Clarke, VC. Pictured here on 16 June 1016 with his Bombing Platoon of the 2nd Battalion at rest billets near Poperinghe after fighting at Sanctuary Woods & Maple Copse.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-000344.

#100DaysofVimy – February 14, 2017

Each Tuesday, we will feature a place in Canada (or international!) with a Vimy Ridge connection. Today we highlight:

Roads of Remembrance

Last week we were introduced to the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE), a women’s organization that worked to care for troops overseas and raise funds for the war effort on the home front. In the years following the First World War, the IODE strove to have the sacrifices of Commonwealth troops remembered in their communities. In Canada, the IODE championed the creation of Roads of Rememberance. More commonly known as “Memorial Avenues”, they were meant to echo the tree-lined roads of rural France, seen by the Canadians while overseas. The straightest possible avenue of a community was chosen, which was then lined with planted trees in perfect symmetry. Each tree was then specifically dedicated with a bronze plaque to a fallen son of the First World War. It is believed that the Next of Kin Memorial Avenue in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is the last remaining Memorial Avenue in Canada to retain its original integrity. As such it has been dedicated as a National Historic Site of Canada.

The tree-lined Next-of-Kin Memorial Avenue in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Credit: Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 2003.

#100DaysofVimy – February 7, 2017

Each Tuesday, we will feature a place in Canada (or international!) with a Vimy Ridge connection. Today we highlight Vimy Memorial Bridge, Ottawa ON.

Just as in 1917, public dedications to the Battle of Vimy Ridge continue to be a popular gesture in Canada.  In 2014, a newly constructed bridge crossing the Rideau River in Ottawa was dedicated the “Vimy Memorial Bridge” following the suggestion made by local branches of the Royal Canadian Legion.

#100DaysofVimy – January 31, 2017

Each Tuesday, we will feature a place in Canada (or international!) with a Vimy Ridge connection. Today we highlight an international Vimy connection – in Arkansas, United States.

After the battle of Vimy Ridge, the news of the Canadian Expeditionary Force’s achievement flashed across the globe. Both in Canada and abroad, people felt compelled to honour the monumental occasion. A common gesture at the time was to re-name a community building. In Arkansas, USA, the Germania Missionary Baptist Church did just that, re-naming itself the Vimy Ridge Missionary Baptist Church in 1917. The community went even one step further, re-naming both its post office and the road upon which it was situated to “Vimy Ridge”.

 

Vimy Ridge Missionary Baptist Church. Courtesy of Google Maps.
Vimy Ridge Missionary Baptist Church. Courtesy of Google Maps.

 

Vimy Ridge Missionary Baptist Church. Courtesy of Google Maps.
Vimy Ridge Missionary Baptist Church. Courtesy of Google Maps.

#100DaysofVimy – January 24, 2017

Each Tuesday, we will feature a place in Canada (or international!) with a Vimy Ridge connection. Today we highlight Vimy Ridge Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Recruited and mobilized in Winnipeg, the 44th Battalion (Manitoba) of the Canadian Expeditionary Force was sent to France in August 1916. Immediately after the Battle of Vimy Ridge, surviving members of the battalion erected a monument on the ridge itself in 1917. After the war, in 1924, the 44th Battalion Association and the families of fallen soldiers brought the monument to Winnipeg, where it stands today in Vimy Ridge Park.

 

The 44th Battalion monument on the battlefield of Vimy Ridge some time after 1917.  Photo: National Archives of Australia, M5107, 8363910; RV Morse
The 44th Battalion monument on the battlefield of Vimy Ridge some time after 1917. Photo: National Archives of Australia, M5107, 8363910; RV Morse.

#100DaysofVimy – January 17, 2017

Each Tuesday, we will feature a place in Canada (or international!) with a Vimy Ridge connection. Today we highlight Percival Molson Stadium, Montreal.

In 1913, plans to build a sports stadium on the McGill Campus began. McGill graduate  and star athlete, Percival Molson, MC, was greatly involved with leading the Stadium Committee. Initially delayed by the onset of World War One, the stadium opened in 1915. The first event held on the stadium grounds was in fact a sports program hosted by the McGill Canadian Officers Training Corps auxiliary battalion. Molson went on to serve as a Captain with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. On July 5, 1917, Captain Percival Molson, MC was killed by a German howitzer during fighting at Avion, near Vimy Ridge.

His will bequeathed $75,000 towards the construction expenses of the McGill stadium. In 1919, McGill’s Board of Governors officially renamed the venue the Percival Molson Memorial Stadium. For further reading, click here.

Have you visited the Percival Molson Stadium in Montreal? Did you know its connection to the First World War? Let us know!

Captain Percival Molson in uniform, circa 1915. Photo: McGill University Archives, PR041491
Captain Percival Molson in uniform, circa 1915. Photo: McGill University Archives, PR041491