BATTLE OF

VIMY RIDGE VIP TOUR

Commemorative Centennial Tour

April 04-11, 2017


It is with pleasure that we at the Vimy Foundation present our specially designed tour, operated by Spirit of Remembrance Ltd, our official adult tour operator based in Europe. Part of the proceeds of this unique official tour will assist us to raise funds to send a group of young Canadians to Vimy, France in April 2017 for the Centenary commemorations. Staying in a breathtaking 17th century Chateau, your tour, led by General Rick Hillier (Ret’d), follows the trail of events which lead to the famous Battle of Vimy Ridge. Please join our tour and help us to help our youth perpetuate the memory of those who gave us the freedoms we enjoy today. The mission of the Vimy Foundation is to preserve and promote Canada’s First World War legacy as symbolized with the victory at Vimy Ridge in April 1917, a milestone where Canada came of age and was then recognised on the world stage.

The Vimy VIP Tour is now fully booked.

For any questions, please contact us at info@vimyfoundation.ca.

Itinerary

Pre-Tour: Tuesday April 4, 2017

The Spirit of Remembrance team can meet you at the Paris airport and welcome you to France.

Remainder of the day at leisure (OPTIONAL TOURS AVAILABLE)

  • Guided tour around Paris cultural highlights
  • Personal shopper
  • Helicopter tour
  • Numerous other options available.

Welcome cocktail function followed by dinner in a historic restaurant

Tour DAY 1: Wednesday April 5, 2017

The Spirit of Remembrance team will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to the Chateau Chartreuse which will be your home for the next 5 nights.

We will visit the Canadian National Vimy Memorial Park (time TBD). Enroute we will visit the Cabaret Rouge Cemetery in Souchez. In May 2000 the remains of an unknown Canadian soldier were taken from this cemetery and buried in a special tomb at the foot of the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada.
This afternoon time permitting we will visit the Wellington Quarries in Arras. The museum is founded to the memory of thousands of men of the British Army and Dominion Forces who lived under the city during the Great War of 1914-1918. In particular work of the tunnelers of the New Zealand Division is commemorated.

Tour DAY 2: Thursday April 6, 2017

 

Today we travel to Ypres, (Approx. 1 hour). General Rick Hillier (Ret’d) and our team will share fascinating stories relating to the First World War and what you can expect when you arrive in Ypres.

We will visit the following:

  • Essex Farm. Dressing station where in 1915 a Canadian surgeon, John McCrae, wrote the famous poem “In Flanders Fields” and the story of the Poppy was born.
  • PPCLI Memorial – commemorating a gallant stand by the Patricia’s in May 1915.
  • “The Brooding Soldier” – St. Julien Canadian Memorial at Vancouver Corner – where Canadians held the line during the first German poison gas attack in April 1915.
  • Passchendaele Memorial Museum (admission included)
  • Langemark German Cemetery and the nearby location of the first gas attack
  • Tyne Cot Cemetery – the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world. Act of Remembrance. Travel via Passchendaele New Cemetery viewpoint and hear how the Canadian Corps took Passchendaele in Oct/Nov 1917
  • Canadian Memorial Passchendaele
  • Mount Sorrel – The 1916 British Front Line south-east of Ypres was situated on this high ground of the Ypres ridge at Zillebeke and the double summits of Hill 61 and Hill 62. Three divisions of the Canadian Corps were involved in the defence of the line here when the German Army made an attack on 2nd June 1916. (If time permits)

In the evening, we will take our places at the Menin Gate ready to experience the Last Post Ceremony and lay a wreath on behalf of the Vimy Foundation.

Tour DAY 3: Friday April 7, 2017

 

General Rick Hillier (Ret’d) will talk with us about the Battle of the Somme – 1916. We will be visiting Beaumont Hamel and Thiepval.

  • Beaumont Hamel – Newfoundland Memorial Park. Here, the 1st Newfoundland Regiment, attached to a British division, was cut down on 1 July 1916 by German machine-gun fire as it attacked over open ground. Within 30 minutes the regiment suffered a crippling 324 killed and 386 wounded out of a total of 801 soldiers. The story of Piper James Richardson VC, 16th Canadian Scottish. Newfoundland Memorial.
  • Thiepval – Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

The Battle of the Somme raged for over four months and resulted in over a million casualties to Allied and German troops. The Canadians, originally in the Ypres sector, missed the first months of the fighting, but had moved to the Somme by early September.

  • Adanac Military Cemetery, Miraumont. Act of Remembrance.
  • Mouquet Farm area – 3rd Canadian Division. The story of Pte John Kerr VC, 49th Battalion.

You will then have the unique opportunity to visit the Maison Blanche Souterrain (Date/Time TBC).

  • Previously used as a chalk quarry, this underground system was turned into a barrack by the Canadian Corps who continued to expand the tunnels and caves. The underground space saved many lives as Canadian soldiers would sleep and wait as the ground above them shook. Many soldiers carved names, symbols and even detailed pictures into the chalk walls that can be viewed today.

Today you will attend special VIP opening, (time TBC) of Witness – Canadian Art of the First World War, a travelling exhibition from the Canadian War Museum at Musée des Beaux Arts in Arras.

Tour DAY 4: Saturday April 8, 2017

 

We will venture south to where the Battle of Amiens (1918) was the beginning of the end of the German armies. A powerful Allied force, spearheaded by Canadian and Australian troops, nearly broke through the enemy lines on 8 August. The Canadians advanced 13 kilometres through the German defences, the most successful day of combat for the Allies on the Western Front.

We will visit:

  • Domart Bridge – A Canadian engineer story.
  • Hangard Wood & War Cemetery – the story of three VCs
  • Beaucourt Wood – another VC
  • The defence of Hallu by the Winnipeg Grenadiers & the Calgary Battalion.
  • Manitoba Cemetery, Caix and Caix British Cemetery – burial place of the “Hallu 8” who were 8 Manitobans buried with full military honours on 13th May 2015 nearly a century after they were killed.
  • Villers Bretonneux – Australian War Memorial – Story of Lt Jean Brillant VC, MC , R22e Regiment
  • Corbie was the location of a RAMC casualty clearing station and the nearby location where the Red baron, Manfred von Richthofen (5/2/1892- 4/21/1918) died. He was an ace German fighter pilot in World War I credited with 80 air combat victories.

There will then be time to visit the Amiens Cathedral, one of the finest examples of Gothic sacred art and a UNESCO World Heritage site before returning to the Chateau Chartreuse.

We will then attend the Vimy Foundation Vimy Reception at the Chateau Chartreuse in Gosnay, France. Attendees are expected to include government officials, heads of state and Vimy Foundation supporters. (To be confirmed.)

Tour DAY 5: Sunday April 9, 2017 – “CENTENARY OF THE BATTLE OF VIMY RIDGE”

 

Today we will travel to Vimy Ridge and spend a couple of hours visiting the Canadian National Vimy Memorial Park.

Attend the Official Vimy Centennial Commemoration Ceremony. Commemorative events have not yet been confirmed so the day has been left free.

Tour DAY 6: Monday April 10, 2017

 

Depart for the Mons area via the Hindenburg Line 1918 via Drocourt-Quéant Line

After the victory at Amiens, Allied commanders agreed on a multi-army offensive along the Western Front against Germans force that, for the first time in the war, appeared vulnerable. The ensuing campaign, known as the Hundred Days (August – November 1918), ended in the defeat of German forces in the West.

We will visit:

  • Canal du Nord
  • Bourlon Wood Canadian Memorial
  • Sancourt British Cemetery

We will have a special lunch in Grand Place Mons. This is where the Canadian Corps Commander, Lt Gen Sir Arthur Currie, took the salute on 11th November 1918.

We will also visit:

  • St Symphorien Cemetery – Buried here is the last Canadian soldier to die in combat in the First World War. He was Private George Price of the 28th Battalion, killed by a German sniper northeast of Mons only a few minutes before the Armistice. The war ended at 11 a.m. on 11 November 1918.
  • Return via The Glade of the Armistice in the Compiègne Forest was the site of the signing of two armistices

Return to Paris

Post-Tour: Tuesday April 11, 2017

 

Travel back to Canada or select optional tour modules.

Package Includes:

 

  • Land transport to and from Paris in an executive coach (incl. DVD, AC, toilet)
  • 2 nights’ accommodation** at a 4 star hotel in Paris
  • 5 nights’ accommodation at the Hôtel La Chartreuse du Val Saint Esprit**
  • Buffet breakfast daily
  • 6 x lunches
  • 5 x dinners
  • 1 x gala dinner
  • Experienced historian battlefield tour guides (1 per coach)
  • Spirit of Remembrance tour manager
  • Vimy Foundation “swag bag” including Pilgrimage medal
  • Special tour bag including a hat, rain jacket, pen and baggage tags
  • Bound souvenir programme including tour documentation with background information
  • Special invitation to unique Vimy Centennial weekend events including Art Exhibition at Arras Museum of Fine Arts and Vimy Foundation Vimy 100 Reception at Arras City Hall
  • There will be optional tours and extras available at an extra cost

* 12 years old and older
** 2 people in 1 room either in a double, (1 bed) or twin room (2 beds)

Package does not include:

 

  • Flights to and from France
  • Admission fees in museums and monuments unless specified in the itinerary
  • Meals and beverages unless shown in the itinerary
  • Tips, porterage and all personal extras
  • Insurance & passport costs – you must have travel insurance and a valid passport

 

For any questions about the tour, please contact tour operator Spirit of Remembrance at vimy@spiritofremembrance.com.

Book Your Trip

STEP 1

Cost: $7000 plus $1000 minimum donation (per person)
Travel Date: April 04-11, 2017

To participate in this exclusive Vimy tour, featuring General Rick Hillier (Ret’d), a $1000 donation per guest is required. Part of the proceeds of this unique official tour will assist us to raise funds to send a group of young Canadians to Vimy, France in April 2017 for the Centenary commemorations.

The Vimy VIP Tour is now fully booked. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please contact us at info@vimyfoundation.ca.

Vimy Visitor Education Centre

In 2017, Canada will be celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a seminal event in Canada’s history. The crowning achievement of the Centennial celebrations will be the unveiling of state-of-the-art Vimy Visitor Education Centre ($5 million was committed by the Government of Canada in 2013) near the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France – a project from Veterans Affairs Canada in partnership with the Vimy Foundation.

While the Vimy monument itself is of course stunningly beautiful, currently visitors are given little context at the existing information booth as to why Canadians fought and died there; why Vimy remains special to the Canadian soul; and how Vimy, and other First World War battles at which Canadians fought, forever altered Canada’s status on the world stage. The Visitor Education Centre at Vimy will answer these questions.

VECimages

 

Images courtesy of Robertson Martin Architect and Bisson+Castonguay

 

Construction has begun on the Vimy Visitor Education Centre:

(All images courtesy of Veterans Affairs Canada)

Vimy Visitor Education Centre - January 2016
Vimy Visitor Education Centre – January 2016

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre - February 2016
Vimy Visitor Education Centre – February 2016

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre - March 2016
Vimy Visitor Education Centre – March 2016

 

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre - April 2016
Vimy Visitor Education Centre – April 2016

 

Tour of Vimy Visitor Education Centre site on April 9, 2016. (L to R) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon Ambassador of Canada to France; The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario; Jeremy Diamond, Executive Director, Vimy Foundation; Greg Kenney, Director General, European Operations, Veterans Affairs Canada.
Tour of Vimy Visitor Education Centre site on April 9, 2016. (L to R) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon Ambassador of Canada to France; The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario; Jeremy Diamond, Executive Director, Vimy Foundation; Greg Kenney, Director General, European Operations, Veterans Affairs Canada.

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre - May 2016
Vimy Visitor Education Centre – May 2016

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre - June 2016
Vimy Visitor Education Centre – June 2016

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre - July 2016
Vimy Visitor Education Centre – July 2016

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre - October 2016
Vimy Visitor Education Centre – October 2016

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre - October 2016
Vimy Visitor Education Centre – October 2016

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre – January 2017

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre – January 2017

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre – March 2017

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre – March 2017

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre – March 2017

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre – March 2017

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre – March 2017

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre – March 2017

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre – March 2017

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre – March 2017

 

Vimy Visitor Education Centre – March 2017

Vimy 100

 

The Vimy Foundation is leading the charge to commemorate the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge – the First World War battle that paved the way to an Allied victory, and solidified Canada as an independent nation. Please check out how you can get involved by attending events in your community, giving a VIMY for Vimy, and see the latest plans for the new Vimy Visitor Education Centre, set to open on April 9, 2017.

Planning to travel to Vimy in April 2017 for the centennial anniversary? The official ceremony that will take place on April 9th, 2017 is being facilitated by Veterans Affairs Canada. Mandatory registration for the event is now closed. Please click here to visit their site for information. 

 

 

Can’t be there in person? EF Educational Tours Canada has released an amazing 360 video of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Take a virtual tour:

Overview
In 2017, Canada will be celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a seminal event in Canada’s history. The crowning achievement of the Centennial celebrations will be the unveiling of the state-of-the-art Vimy Visitor Education Centre ($5 million was committed by the Government of Canada in 2013) near the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France – a project from Vimy Foundation in partnership with Veterans Affairs Canada.

While the Vimy monument itself is of course stunningly beautiful, currently visitors are given little context at the existing information booth as to why Canadians fought and died there; why Vimy remains special to the Canadian soul; and how Vimy, and other First World War battles at which Canadians fought, forever altered Canada’s status on the world stage. The Vimy Visitor Education Centre will answer these questions. The Centre will feature an Education Room, Museum Hall, Exhibit spaces, Resource Centre, and a Wall of Remembrance.

To commemorate the Vimy centennial, we are also offering dedication opportunities within the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park, see more information below.

A number of key Canadians have lent their support to this important project, becoming part of the Vimy 2017 Committee, including current and former heads of state, federal and provincial politicians, military leaders, and supporters from the business, arts, academic, and philanthropic communities in Canada.

Contact Jeremy Diamond, Vimy Foundation Executive Director, to discuss ways you can get involved!

Centennial Park

The Vimy Foundation Centennial Park will be on 4 acres of land adjacent to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial site in Northern France. It will feature 100 Centennial Trees dedicated to Canadians. Each tree will be a descendant of a ‘Vimy Oak’ acorn which fell from a European Oak during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, and was subsequently planted in Scarborough, ON.

The Vimy Foundation Centennial Park will be on 4 acres of land adjacent to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial site.
The Vimy Foundation Centennial Park will be on 4 acres of land adjacent to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial site.

 

Each Centennial Tree is available for purchase by the public for $10,000 and will feature the donor’s name on the Centennial Park plaque. Proceeds will support Vimy 2017 centennial activities and education programs of the Vimy Foundation.

The design and setting of the Vimy Centennial Park will complement the surrounding area and be a reflective and emotional element of the site. Recognition will be on the Centennial Park plaque.

After the Vimy battle was won, many soldiers realized that they had been part of something truly great. Leslie Miller looked around for a souvenir on the Ridge, which was completely devoid of structures or vegetation due to shell fire but he did find a half buried oak tree. He gathered up a handful of acorns. Those acorns were subsequently planted by him on farm land which is now home to the Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church. He called his farm the ‘Vimy Oaks Farm’. Today, several of the original oaks survive. However, there are no original oaks on the Vimy Ridge site.

Vimy Oaks

Click here to watch a news segment on the Vimy Oak story with City News reporter Audra Brown, and click here for the video update. For additional photos of the Vimy Oaks, please click here.

Centennial Trees

  • Amelia & Lino Saputo Jr. Foundation
  • Assurant
  • The Boquist Family
  • The Burton Family in memory of Graham Burton
  • The Cadets of the Eastern Arctic. Thank you for your Gift of Freedom.
  • Graham Campbell & Rachel St. John
  • Joseph L. Campbell and Joan Miller-Campbell
  • A.Coburn & D.Auringer families in memory of Thomas Wilson, 196th Battalion CEF
  • Costigan family, in memory of John Francis Costigan, died at Vimy Ridge April 4th 1917. Canada
  • The Croxon Family
  • In Memory of General Sir Arthur Currie
  • The Dalglish Family
  • Donnelly Automotive Group, Ottawa
  • Robert C. Douglas and Joanne R. Sutherland in Honour of James R. Sutherland Sr. 44th Bn(Manitoba)
  • Robert Francis
  • The Fraser Family in memory of Frederick Thomas Lodge & John (Jack) Fraser
  • Matt and Erin Giffen & Family
  • The Glover Family honours Sergeant Winfred (Fred) Alexander Glover, 21st Battalion, Canadian Infantry
  • Ian & Christie Gray Family, Port Credit Ontario
  • Ken and Dianne Griffith & Family
  • In memory of Capt Frank Edgar Hamblin, 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles
  • Hamilton Academy of Medicine in support of Docs on Ice
  • Ainslie Hogan and sons
  • For Brave Valentine, with Love The Hyatt Family
  • Industrial Alliance
  • Fred Jaques, In loving memory of Lieutenant Maurice Alexander Jaques, lost Sept 3, 1916
  • The Kelleher Family in memory of Dr. W.R. Harwood
  • The Kelsall Family In honour of Corporal Samuel Lester Kelsall 58th Battalion 9th MGC 3rd Division
  • Nancy MacKellar
  • We will not break faith, nous nous souviendrons. Fergus, Molly & Racheal McCaig
  • The McCook, Leger, and Styner Family
  • Mr. & Mrs. S. Mehta, Mississauga, ON, in memory of our beloved servicemen who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Requiescat in pace.
  • The Mews Family in memory of Lieutenant Henry (Harry) George Reginald Mews
  • Mike Stollery Automotive Partnerships in honour of Private G. R. Mowforth
  • The Men and Women of Operation Guardian Force who care for and Remember our Veterans
  • The Knights and Dames of the Order of St. George Canada. We Will Remember You.
  • Randy & Carolyn Peek & Family
  • Pembcorp Automotive Group
  • In memory of soldiers of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry who paid the supreme sacrifice 9-12 April 1917
  • In memory of Andrew Powell
  • Robert Quartermain
  • The Ritz & Hunt families in memory of Pte Harry Franklin Ritz (78th Bn)
  • Honour – Courage – Sacrifice / Royal Canadian Navy
  • The Shanahan Carriage Company in memory of Lieutenant-Colonel John H. Chipman, MC, VD
  • TAO Asset Management
  • Irene Topits
  • The Vickers Family in memory of Gunner Arthur Vickers and Private Arthur Fordham
  • Courage Remembered – In loving memory of G. Kingsley Ward and Adele E. Ward
  • The Wood Family in memory of Flight Lieutenant John Harvie Wiley
  • The Wyant Family in memory of Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon M. Wyant, OC, CD, QHP

Download the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park Sponsorship Opportunities.

To purchase a Centennial Tree and support the Vimy Foundation’s Vimy 2017 centennial programs, please contact Jeremy Diamond, Vimy Foundation Executive Director, at jdiamond@vimyfoundation.ca or 416.595.1917 x 1.

 

Sponsors

PATRONS

 

The George and Helen Vari Foundation

Canso-Lysander-1024x341

John & Kim Carswell Family

Bell Logo

 

 

BENEFACTORS

 

W Garfield Weston Foundation Logo

PCC-Logos_EN-header

 EF_ENG_Blue-300x139

 

Richard Rooney

Cretier Foundation

tim-hortons-logo

 

logo-cloud1

 

ZSA RECRUITMENT Logo

 

SUPPORTERS

  John & Pattie Cleghorn and Family

Cal Wenzel Family Foundation

McLean Foundation

Centennial Plaques

Centennial Plaques were sponsored by community members and groups to support the design and construction of the new Vimy Visitor Education Centre and to honour a family member, friend, veteran, or community member. These plaques will be mounted in the Visitor Education Centre in Vimy, France. Each Centennial Plaque will remain on the wall in perpetuity to be read by visitors who enter the Visitor Education Centre and demonstrate the national significance of the building.

Centennial Plaques

  • Don, Elyse & Stuart Allan
  • Carpenters District Council of Ontario
  • The Family of Sergeant Murray Featherstonhaugh
  • Staff Sergeant Major William Francis
  • The Family of Mary Goffart
  • The Honorary Colonel Blake C. Goldring Family
  • David & Jo-Anne Houghton
  • James G. Massie & Family
  • The T.R. Meighen Family Foundation
  • Robert Quartermain
  • Gary & Joanne Reamey Family
  • The Family of Harold LeRoy Shaw
  • Mike Stollery & Family
  • James Ross Sutherland Sr. Family
  • Louis Vachon

Vimy 2017 Committee

Honorary Patrons
The Right Honourable Kim Campbell, P.C., C.C., O.B.C., Q.C. His Eminence, Thomas Cardinal Collins
The Honourable Judith Guichon, O.B.C. Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean, PC, CC, CMM, COM, CD, FRCPSC (hon)
Major-General (Ret’d) Lewis MacKenzie U.E., C.M., C.M.M., M.S.C., O.Ont, C.D. The Right Honourable Paul Martin, P.C., C.C.
The Honourable Stephen McNeil, M.L.A. The Honourable Thomas Mulcair, P.C., M.P.
Vice- Admiral Mark Norman, C.M.M., C.D. The Honourable Doug Phillips
The Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield, S.O.M., S.V.M. The Honourable Brad Wall, M.L.A.
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, M.P.P.
Campaign Co-Chairs
Captain (Ret’d) John P. Carswell, RMC, MBA, CFA General (Ret’d) Rick Hillier, O.C., C.M.M., M.S.C., C.D.
Hon. Michael A. Meighen, QC Mrs. George W. (Helen) Vari, OLH, OONM, LLD, LHD
Education Patrons
John and Pattie Cleghorn

Ambassadors

Christopher Alexander Niki Ashton, M.P.
Hugh Brewster Lois Brown, M.P.
BGen. Julian Chapman Hon. Jean Charest, PC, LLB
The Honourable Senator Marie-P. Charette-Poulin Don Cherry
Tony Clement, P.C., M.P. Arthur Dalfen
J. Colin Dodds Wayne Easter, M.P.
The Honourable Senator Art Eggleton The Honourable Ernie Eves, Q.C.
The Honourable Myra A. Freeman, C.M., O.N.S., M.S.M. David Frum
Paul Godfrey, C.M., O.Ont. Paul W. Gooch
Linda Granfield Rudyard Griffiths
Paul Gross Michael Harris, M.P.P.
 Judith Irving Dr. Frederic L.R. Jackman
 HooJung Jones Senator Serge Joyal, PC, OC, OQ
The Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P. The Honourable Peter Kent, P.C., M.P.
Michael Krstajic Lieutenant-General (Ret’d) Andrew Leslie C.M.M., M.S.C., M.S.M., C.D.
Ben Lobb, M.P. Brian Macdonald, MLA
William A. MacKinnon Phil McColeman, MP
John McDermott Rick Mercer
Larry Miller, M.P. Christine Moore, M.P.
Erin O’Toole, M.P. Gary & Joanne Reamey
Ken Shaw Peter Stoffer, M.P.
David Sweet, M.P. Kenneth M. Tanenbaum
William Thorsell John H. Tory, Q.C., O.Ont.
Dr. Jonathan Vance Roger Vandomme
Robert Wildeboer Jason Wilson
Campaign Cabinet
Casey Adam Antolak William Arvanitis
Bryan Brulotte Don Cranston
Ferg Devins Christopher Hilkene
Michael Hyatt Nigel Kettle
Jim Love Robert McFarlane
Jan Ottens Greg Owen
Charles Pachter Tim Patriquin, C.D.
Walter P.F. Shanly Michael G. Sherrard
Jamie Watt John Wright
Peter Wright

Vimy Oaks

After the Battle at Vimy Ridge was won, many soldiers realized that they had been part of something truly great. Leslie Miller, born in 1889 in Milliken, ON, looked around for a souvenir on the Ridge, which was completely devoid of structures or vegetation due to shell fire but he did find a half buried oak tree. He gathered up a handful of acorns.

Those acorns were subsequently planted by him on farm land which is now home to the Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church. He called his farm the ‘Vimy Oaks Farm’. Today, several of the original oaks survive. However, there are no original oaks on the Vimy Ridge site.

The Vimy Oaks Team is working, in partnership with the Vimy Foundation, to repatriate these Vimy Oaks of Scarborough-Agincourt back to Vimy, France, to help preserve Canada’s WWI legacy through the creation of a living memorial, planted in France for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

In January 2015, the process began with professional arborists taking cuttings (scions) from the crowns of the oaks which will be grafted onto base root stock – quercus robur. Like Ice Wine this process must be done in the cold weather. The saplings will be grown at Connon NVK nurseries using an accelerated method.

Representing Veterans Affairs, the Honourable Peter Kent, Member of Parliament for Thornhill stated: “I applaud the Vimy Oaks team for preserving the legacy of First World War Veteran Leslie Miller. These trees stand as a symbol of the strength and determination of those who gave so much nearly 100 years ago, and it is truly an honour to be here to witness the beginning of what will become a lasting reminder of the Canadian sacrifice on Vimy Ridge.”

Vimy Foundation Executive Director, Jeremy Diamond stated: “To commemorate the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 2017, the Vimy Foundation, in partnership with the Government of Canada, is spearheading the building of the Vimy Education Centre, which will be located at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. We are thrilled to partner with the Vimy Oaks project, the trees from which will make a fitting complement to the Centre and site. Congratulations on this wonderful initiative.”

For more information, please contact Stephanie Brousseau: sbrousseau@vimyfoundation.ca.

These Vimy Oaks are available for sponsorship – click here to find out more about our Centennial Trees.

Click here for a photo album of the process.