The Borden Legacy Park

Camp Borden was founded in 1916, training nearly fifty thousand soldiers for service in The Canadian Expeditionary Force. For many of those soldiers, their first action was during the Battle of Arras, and specifically the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

In 2016 CFB Borden celebrated its centennial year, and through the enduring partnership of the Base, the City of Barrie and the surrounding communities, the Borden Legacy Monument was erected to mark the occasion. Unveiled on June 9th by PM Trudeau, with Mayor Leturque, Mayor of Arras, contributing to our ceremony.

The Borden Legacy Project began in 2014, and in June 2015, sacred soil was removed from the Battlefield at Vimy Ridge and patriated to Canada. This soil symbolically holds the DNA of all those fallen and wounded in the 1917 Battle.

This was one of the important steps that saw the creation of Borden Legacy Park –three distinct pieces that serve to commemorate our past and inspire the future. First, a white and black granite wall, a tribute and inspiration to each and every member of the Canadian Armed Forces that passes through our gates. Etched into the main wall is a powerful tribute to all past and current serving Canadian Armed Forces members: Through these gates the sons a daughters of a grateful nation pass – serving Canada with Honour, Duty, and Courage, so that all may live with Freedom, Democracy, and Justice.

The wall also encases an urn, in which the sacred soil is held. The promise of General Sir Arthur Currie to his troops is etched into the wall that holds the soil, and reads: “To those who fall I say: you will not die, but step into immortality. Your mothers will not lament your fate, but will be proud to have borne such sons. Your names will be revered forever and ever by your grateful country, and God will take you unto himself.”

The second piece of the park is the restored WWI trenches that were used to train infantry soldiers before their departure to the Western Front. Connected to the Legacy Wall via short wooded trail, these trenches are a reminder of the importance of training, and the conditions of the First World War.

Finally, a Bronze Bugler stands in the park, calling to his companions, calling visitors to the monument, and calling to the now-empty trenches that once trained soldiers before they left for battle overseas.

To commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a second bugler was created, and will be donated to the Vimy Foundation, to stand in the shadow of Walter Allward’s magnificent monument. The Twin Bugler currently stands in the Hotel de Ville in the City of Arras.

Information and photos provided by CFB Borden.

 

‘Vimy to Juno’ Charity Bike Ride

Announcing the 2019 ‘Vimy to Juno’ Charity Bike Ride

The Vimy Foundation is proud to announce a unique opportunity to cycle through Canada’s First and Second World War history, in June 2019. The ‘Vimy to Juno’ Charity Bike Ride combines 500-700km of riding through beautiful countryside and challenging courses with a powerful historical narrative culminating in the 75th anniversary of commemorations.

The tour begins in the battlefields where Canada was active in the First World War, taking riders through Belgium and Northern France, including special visits to Menin Gate (and Last Post Ceremony), Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial, and the Canadian National Vimy Memorial – which will incorporate activities inside the new Visitor Education Centre, at the soon to be opened Vimy Foundation Centennial Park, and exclusive access to the nearby underground tunnels of Maison Blanche, not open to the public.

Heading into Normandy, riders will trace the route followed by Canadian soldiers in campaigns of the Second World War, including the Dieppe Raid, culminating in wreath laying and attending a special Gala Dinner with Heads of States and other VIPs, as part of the official commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the D–Day landings. Along the Vimy to Juno route, riders will participate in a special event with cyclists on the Wounded Warriors Canada Battlefield Bike Ride (BBR19), joining like-minded Canadians exploring Canada’s wartime history on two wheels. You won’t have to be an expert cyclist to go on this trip, but a level of training and bicycle knowledge is required.

Highlights to include:

  • Ypres Region: Last post ceremony at the Menin Gate
  • Vimy Region: Canadian National Vimy Memorial
  • Vimy Region: Beaumont Hamel National Memorial (NL)
  • Normandy Region: Visit Dieppe
  • Normandy Region: Attend D-Day Ceremonies at Juno Beach

Dates, costs, and more information including detailed routes to be announced shortly. Stay tuned!

Announcing our 2018 Beaverbrook Vimy Prize Recipients!

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2018 Beaverbrook Vimy Prize! 16 students were selected to participate in an immersive educational program in England, Belgium, and France. From August 9-23, 2018, they will learn about the interwoven history of our countries during the First and Second World Wars.

Ghalia Aamer – Edmonton, AB
Laetitia Champenois Pison – Montreal, QC
Cassidy Choquette – Steinbach, MB
John Evans – Victoria, BC
Alix Gravel – Cowansville, QC
Anna Hoimyr – Gladmar, SK
Mayra Alejandra Largo Alvarez – London, ON
Stanford Li – Beaconsfield, QC
Isabella MacKay – Ottawa, ON
Cassandre Onteniente – Region Occitanie, France
Brooke Reid – St. Andrews, NB
Hanna Rogers – Kinkora, PE
Kelsey Ross – Burin, NL
Gordon Simpson – Edinburgh, Scotland
Caroline Tolton – North York, ON
Rachel Woodruff – Chemainus, BC

 

There were so many impressive applications that once again our task was extremely difficult, and we thank all who applied.

This program is made possible due to generous support from the Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation.

BeaverbrookCanadianLogo

 

The 2018 Vimy Reception

 

Nearly 200 government officials, business leaders, military personnel, and students attended the eighth annual Vimy Reception at the stunning Embassy of France on May 1. Thank you to our host, Her Excellency Kareen Rispal, Ambassador of France to Canada, and to our guest speakers: Tim Cook, CM, Canadian War Museum; and Damien Pilon, 2018 Vimy Pilgrimage Award winner.

 

“Thank you to all who joined us for helping to celebrate not only Canada’s legacy of leadership, innovation, and teamwork, but also the cultural heritage of the beautiful monument itself. Let’s continue to share the many stories that make Vimy such an iconic milestone for our country!” 

– Bruce R. Burrows, Chair of the 2018 Vimy Reception Committee

“Today, we are here to remember the Canadians and the French who fought a century ago, and it is our mission to prevent what happened to them from happening again. We will not forget them, and their memory will remind us of our duty to preserve peace.”

– Damien Pilon, 2018 Vimy Pilgrimage Award winner

 

Thank you to our event sponsors:
A special thank you to Sakto Corporation for their ongoing support of the 137 Ashbury Royal Canadian Dragoons Army Cadets who were able to join us again this year.

 

Support the Vimy Legacy Fund
Help us fund our Vimy Pilgrimage Award, which sends 20 outstanding young Canadians, like Damien, to walk through the footsteps of history in Canada’s most notable First World War sites each April.

 

Great War in Colour exhibit featured
Learn more about our First World War in Colour project and browse additional colourized images on our website.

 

Watch ‘Return to Vimy’
During the Vimy Reception, we screened this short film produced by the Vimy Foundation in partnership with the National Film Board of Canada. Watch ‘Return to Vimy’

 

Learn more about the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park
The Vimy Foundation Centennial Park is currently being built on a dedicated piece of land adjacent to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. It will feature 100 Centennial Trees, each a descendant of a ‘Vimy Oak’ acorn which fell during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

 

 

Vimy Pilgrimage Award Blog – 10 April 2018

 

 

After seven informative and incredible days, our 2018 VPA students said their goodbyes and departed for home early this morning. For the last blog entry of this program, we asked our new Vimy Pilgrimage Award alumni to describe their experience in one line.

(Please note: participants will blog in their mother tongue.)

 

Amy: Memorable, thought-provoking, emotional, connecting, and life changing are all words that best describe this experience!

Rohan: A beautiful experience that I will forever cherish!

Léa: Ce programme m’a tellement appris.

Sarah: I came into this program expecting to learn more about the First World War, but I emerged with tons of knowledge about the war, and Canada, 19 new friends, and memories that will last my entire life.

Damien: Cette experience m’a permis de vraiment comprendre la guerre et ses consequences, à la fois sur les gens et sur l’environment.

Stephanie: From the museums to the cemeteries and memorials, I learned more about the First World War and learned to think critically, more than I ever could have imagined.

Christophe: C’était une experience qui m’a ouvert les yeux à la puissance de l’histoire sur les victimes du passé, les apprenants du present et les leaders du future.

Thomas: C’est avec le coeur lourd que je quitte le vieu continent, mais sans regret d’avoir participé à ce programme extraordinaire.

Julia: This was a life-changing experience for me- I will carry the stories I’ve learned close to my heart for the rest of my life.

Osose: An amazing program that not many can experience and not all would appreciate; I’m so grateful.

Katie: This has been a jam-packed week that broadened my perspectives in thinking, strengthened my appreciation for history, and for those who it was a reality.

Kiana: I couldn’t have been more honoured to be chosen; I am so proud to be Canadian.

Montaña: I’m sad to go home but happy to have done the program.

Lloyd: I walk away from this program today with a greater appreciation for the Canadian forces, our country, and the blessing that is life itself.

Nupur: This experience has taught me a new dimension of what it means to remember and I will forever carry my experience of honouring those of the First World War.

Laurissa: This program has been an amazing experience for me; thanks to the Vimy Foundation, I had the opportunity to travel to the Vimy Memorial with students who share the same interests as me.

Jeriann: I will never forget the lessons I have learned, the amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities I have had, and the emotional moments I have shared with all of my new friends from across the country.

Shakil: Partaking in this pilgrimage has been one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life.

Markus: Don’t be sad that it’s over, be glad that it happened.

Bethany: I am very sure that I will never be the same or feel the same way as I did before the program, but in an amazing, wonderful, life-changing way.

 

 

Photo credit: Lindsay Fraser-Noel, Vimy Foundation 2018

 

April 2018 Poll Results

 

Despite the numerous events, ceremonies, and media coverage surrounding the April 2017 centennial anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, many Canadians are still unable to identify the Vimy Memorial.  According to a new Ipsos poll conducted for the Vimy Foundation, fewer than 2 in 10 Canadians (16%) could correctly identify the monument when shown a photo. This is down from 19% in 2017 poll conducted in the leadup to the centenary commemorations.

The monument at Vimy Ridge is featured on both the $20 bill and the $2 coin, and yet 70% of those polled were unwilling to even hazard a guess, saying that they ‘didn’t know’ the distinctive shape of the Vimy Memorial, one of Canada’s great examples of public art.

“During the Centennial year, the Vimy Foundation was encouraged to see that three quarters of Canadians said that the Battle of Vimy Ridge was an important anniversary for Canada,” said Jeremy Diamond, Executive Director. “Now is it the responsibility of all Canadians to ensure we keep alive the memory of those who served and sacrificed during the First World War. Today on Vimy Day, we encourage all Canadians to attend a local ceremony, wear a Vimy pin, visit a community museum or plan a trip to Vimy. Lest we forget.”

With recognition of the monument lowest among young people 18-34 (13%), programs and projects that help young Canadians engage with history will continue to be important. Numerous events are being held today across Canada, including an official ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. These activities demonstrate Canadians’ keen interest in ensuring we make good on the promise to never forget the brave generation who served Canada a century ago.

Click here to view the factum from Ipsos. 

 

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Blake, Vimy Foundation
Communications Manager
jblake@vimyfoundation.ca
(416)595-1917 x361

 

#100DaysofVimy – February 27, 2017

Each Monday, we will share a brief biography of a soldier of the First World War with a Vimy connection. Today we honour Sachimaro Morooka.

Sachimaro Morooka was born in Tokyo on November 3, 1883. In 1906, he arrived in Canada settling in British Columbia where he worked as a fisherman along the Skeena River. In 1916 he enlisted with the 175th Battalion (Medicine Hat) in Calgary, Alberta in an effort to avoid the racial prejudice prevalent against the Japanese in British Columbia. The 175th arrived in France in 1916 and its men were absorbed into other Battalions as reinforcements.

Morooka fought at the Battle of Vimy Ridge with the 50th Battalion (Calgary), attacking Hill 145. During the attack he was hit by shrapnel from a rifle grenade through the right thigh, fracturing his femur, and was sent to hospital in England. While there, King George V and Queen Mary visited the hospital where Morooka was staying. A chance meeting, King George V was fascinated by Morooka and asked many questions of him: “Are you Japanese? Can you speak English? How is your wound? When did you join the Canadian Army?” Morooka was sent back to Canada due to the severity of his wounds and later wrote a memoir of his role in the war, titled “At the Battle of Arras” (Japanese Title: Arasu Sensen E).

The Medical History of Morooka taken from his service file, during his invalidation out of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Note the nature of his wound suffered at Vimy Ridge and the difficulty Morooka had in regaining his ability to walk. Credit: Personnel Records of the First World War, Library and Archives Canada, Reference Number: RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 6380 – 25. Item Number: 204418.

 

The Passenger List of the S.S. Tremont, documenting Morooka’s immigration to Canada from Japan in 1906 at the age of 23. Credit: Courtesy of Ancestry.ca.

#100DaysofVimy – February 26, 2017

Each Sunday we will share a story of Remembrance. Part IV – Building The Vimy Memorial

With the arrival of the first shipments of Seget limestone in France, sculpting could finally begin for the Vimy Memorial in 1927. The blocks were first cut to size in work shops on the ground before being hoisted into position; the figures of the memorial were only sculpted once set in place atop the memorial. This required the construction of extensive studios, encircling the memorial’s two pylons and suspended nearly 200 feet in the air. A pantograph was used by the sculptors to reproduce Allward’s plaster models to scale.

 

Studios were suspended hundreds of feet in the air for the sculpting process. Credit: Central pylons enclosed, view from left. National Gallery of Canada.

 

 

Partially completed figures and remaining blocks indicate the amount of sculpting that had to be completed within the suspended studios. Credit: National Gallery of Canada. Gift of Peter Allward, 1986.

 

Sculptors used a pantograph, (partially visible at top of photo), to reproduce the figures. Allward’s plaster model can be seen on the right. Credit: Duplication of Female Mourner. National Gallery of Canada. Gift of Peter Allward, 1986.

 

#100DaysofVimy – February 6, 2017

Each Monday, we will share a brief biography of a soldier of the First World War with a Vimy connection. Today we honour Brigadier-General Alexander Ross.

Ross was six years old when his family immigrated from Scotland to Silton, Saskatchewan. A pre-war militia member, he served as a recruiting officer in 1914. Once in France, Ross commanded the 28th Battalion (Northwest) from 1916 – 1918. After the war, Ross returned to the law profession, being appointed District Judge of Yorkton. He was also a prominent figure in the Royal Canadian Legion, serving as Dominion President for four years and heading the Vimy Pilgrimage of 1936.

Ross is perhaps best known for his statement concerning the Battle of Vimy Ridge, made in 1967 on the 50th Anniversary of the battle: “It was Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific on parade. I thought then, and I think today, that in those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation.”

 

Casualty Forms from Alexander Ross' service file serve as a record of the number of times Ross was honoured with a Mention In Dispatches, as well as his awarding of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and later, a Bar to the DSO.  Credit: Personnel Records of the First World War, Library and Archives Canada, Reference Number: RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 8466 - 1. Item Number: 609701.                                                       Photo 3 - Ross and other dignitaries descend the steps of the Vimy Memorial during its unveiling in 1936. Ross is in the second row, speaking with His Majesty, King Edward VIII. Credit:  National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque / Library and Archives Canada / PA-183542.
Ross and other dignitaries descend the steps of the Vimy Memorial during its unveiling in 1936. Ross is in the second row, speaking with His Majesty, King Edward VIII. Credit:  National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque / Library and Archives Canada / PA-183542.

 

#100DaysofVimy – February 5, 2017

Each Sunday we will share a story of Remembrance. This week begins a new series on the construction of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

Part I – Building the Vimy Memorial

When Will R. Bird visited Vimy Ridge for Maclean’s Magazine in 1932, Walter Allward’s work on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial was well underway, having begun in 1925. But progress on the memorial had been slow and tedious, as Allward and his crew faced the same perils Bird had stumbled across during his tour of the trenches.

Littered with unexploded shells and grenades, rusted weapons and wire, 100,000 yards of earth had to be removed by hand to prepare for the monument’s base. Other relics of the war, the dugouts and tunnels, (when discovered), had to be emptied of the explosive munitions that were often stored within, and filled with wet chalk or concrete. Finding these underground caverns hidden beneath the monument’s base was crucial, for in total, the memorial would weigh more than 50,000 tons.

More to come next week!

Workers construct the Vimy Memorial's base foundation. Credit: Canada - Dept. of Veterans Affairs / Library and Archives Canada / e002852545
Workers construct the Vimy Memorial’s base foundation. Credit: Canada – Dept. of Veterans Affairs / Library and Archives Canada / e002852545