Meet our Staff

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Stella Begic – Programs Manager

Since joining the Vimy Foundation in 2013, Stella has been committed to giving Canadian youth the opportunity to have life changing learning experiences. As the programs manager, it is her job to ensure students develop a greater understanding of our history and that they share this knowledge with their peers. Stella’s passion for Vimy began in university and today it is her aim to have as many students as possible see the Vimy monument in person and to be inspired by this enduring symbol of Canadian achievement.

Email Stella Begic: sbegic@vimyfoundation.ca.

 

Jennifer Blake – Communications Manager 

As the Vimy Foundation’s Communications Manager, Jennifer loves finding ways to share unique stories of the First World War with a wider audience, and oversees our website, media relations, advertising, and social media channels. With a background in social science and education communications in academia and in non-profit institutions, she specializes in making complex information clear and easy to find.  She first visited Vimy on a rainy Remembrance Day in 2003 and has never forgotten the feeling of seeing the monument through the mist.

Email Jennifer Blake: jblake@vimyfoundation.ca

 

 

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Jeremy Diamond – Executive Director

A public historian for more than 20 years, Jeremy has developed unique Canadian history initiatives at organizations including the Historica-Dominion Institute, Hudson’s Bay Company and numerous museums, historic sites and archives. Jeremy visited Vimy the first time in 2011 and immediately thought about how he could help commemorate the battle’s Centennial in 2017. Our Executive Director since 2014, Jeremy was inspired by a high school history teacher to learn more about our stories and believes that in fact Canadian history is not ‘boring’.

Email Jeremy Diamond: jdiamond@vimyfoundation.ca.

 

 

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Caroline Ross, Communications & Administrative Coordinator

Building on an Honours BA in History from the University of Toronto and professional experience with heritage organizations in Ottawa, Caroline joined the Vimy Foundation in 2017. An avid traveller and a member of a military family, Caroline has visited Vimy twice, and has toured numerous other First and Second World War battlefields in Europe and around the world. She will be handling administrative duties for the office and helping coordinate the Foundation’s communications.

Email Caroline Ross: cross@vimyfoundation.ca.

 

Mission

The Vimy Foundation, founded in 2006, is a Canadian charity with directors and members across the country.

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 recognized on the world stage.

The Foundation carries out its mission by:

  • Spreading awareness through its educational programs, both domestic and overseas;
  • Spreading awareness through distributing souvenir items such as Vimy pins and Pilgrimage medals;
  • Spreading awareness through promoting greater recognition of April 9th as Vimy Day;
  • Spreading awareness through planning events for the 100th Anniversary of the Battle in 2017; and
  • Working to increase understanding for visitors at Vimy through fundraising for the Vimy Visitors Education Centre on the site of the Vimy Memorial.

To date, we have educated hundreds of young Canadians on our First World War history. We have also successfully lobbied for:

  • The Government to hold the public commemoration for the last First World War soldier on Vimy Day 2011;
  • The Vimy Memorial to be placed on the new $20 bill;
  • Governments across the country to lower their flags on Vimy Day; and
  • Successfully hosted gala events across the country celebrating Vimy Day

A Brief Overview

Inspired by the heroic victory of the Canadian Forces at Vimy Ridge, the Vimy Foundation believes that the key to a successful future lies in knowing one’s past, and that the remarkable story of Vimy should be shared with young people from across the country.

A Dominion Institute poll taken at the time of the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge revealed that only 30% of Canadians recognized the unique importance of the event in the nation’s history. This startling statistic suggests that many Canadians do not immediately recognize the significance of this battle, and how its legacy contributed to Canada’s emergence on the world stage.

To meet this challenge, the Vimy Foundation has taken the initiative to share the remarkable story of Vimy with Canada’s youth.

To promote Vimy Day, the Foundation also encourages Canadians to wear a Vimy medal or pin on April 9th each year, and is organizing commemorative events each April. The Foundation is also hard at work developing plans for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 2017.

Boards

Board of Directors

The Vimy Foundation is very fortunate to have dedicated men and women who have devoted their time and efforts to furthering the Foundation’s goals. They each bring an impressive slate of experience and skills to oversee the management and the major policy decision-making of the organization.

Patrons

  • Bruce Bolton
  • Stuart Iversen
  • Reford Macdougall
  • Dean Oliver
  • Vincent Prager
  • William Stavert

 

Board of Directors

Advisory Board

  • John Clemes
  • Juanita Epp
  • Michael Fortmann
  • Shaun Francis
  • Stanley Hartt
  • Ralph Lean
  • Jonathan Leigh
  • Art Linton
  • Lt. Gen. (Ret’d) Michel Maisonneuve
  • The Honourable Michael A. Meighen
  • Desmond Morton
  • Julian Smith

Founder

Andrew Powell (October 2, 1930 – March 14, 2014), founder of the Vimy Foundation, shared his inspirations for the creation of the Foundation:

“As a resident of the United Kingdom from 1981 to 2008, I often traveled between Great Britain and France on the A26 motorway. This lane runs along the magnificent National Vimy Memorial, located on a hill surrounded by trees. A large road sign indicated the site as for the many points of interest in France: “Vimy, Canadian Memorial”. One day in 2003, I noticed that the sign was gone and after a few other trips I noticed that it had not been replaced. The motorway is an important route for traffic from Great Britain, northern France and Belgium to Paris and to the South; the opportunity to inform the general public about the Battle of Vimy Ridge, and about Canada in general, was lost and I was determined to do something about it.

Every country needs legends, especially young countries like Canada, and Vimy’s story is perfect for inspiring Canadian pride. So we had the idea of bringing students from Canada, the United Kingdom and France to this site to learn about Vimy’s history and its significance for Canada. This experience gave me the motivation to create the Vimy Foundation in Canada and to register it as a charitable organization in 2006.”

Contact Us

We want to hear from you! Should you have any questions or comments about the Vimy Foundation, its activities, or how you can be a part of our efforts, please do not hesitate to contact us.

If you would like to visit the Foundation, please make an appointment to ensure a staff member will be available to assist you. To make an appointment, please call 416-595-1917 or email info@vimyfoundation.ca

 

TORONTO OFFICE

200 University Ave., Suite 1000
Toronto, ON M5H 3C6
416-595-1917

 

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