While the Vimy monument itself is of course stunningly beautiful, before April 2017 visitors were given little context at the previous 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 located adjacent the Vimy Monument, inaugurated at the Vimy Centennial Celebrations in April 2017 can now will answer these questions.
The Vimy Visitor Education Centre was a project in partnership with Veteran Affairs Canada ($5 million was committed by the Government of Canada in 2013).
For photos of the grand opening of the Vimy Visitor Education Centre click here.
For photos of the construction of the Vimy Visitor Education Centre click here.
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, opened on April 8, 2017.
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:
In 2017, Canada is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a seminal event in Canada’s history. The crowning achievement of the Centennial celebrations was 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!
As a centennial project to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge as well as the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the Vimy Foundation has created the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park, adjacent to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in northern France. This 4 acre commemorative park complements the surrounding area and will be a reflective space for visitors to Vimy. Built on private farmland purchased by the Vimy Foundation, the land has required extensive demining and preparation prior to creation of the park.
** There are still ongoing opportunities to be involved in supporting the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park. A very limited number of Centennial Trees (Vimy Oaks) and Centennial Benches are still available. Scroll down for more information on the various ways you can support this living memorial.**
Photos from the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park – April 2019
Photos from the opening of the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park – November 2018.
PARK DESIGN & KEY ELEMENTS
The Vimy Foundation Centennial Park is designed as a place for reflection about the role Canada played in the First World War and an opportunity to honour the Great War generation. All elements of the park have been carefully chosen. Design by Linda Dicaire, Landscape Architect.
The Centennial Park features 100 Centennial Trees dedicated to Canadians. The repatriated Vimy Oaks (Read more about the Vimy Oaks here) commemorate the living spirit of those who fought and testify to the intimate relationship between people and nature even in the most tragic circumstances. The four rows of trees in the centre circle commemorate the four Canadian divisions that participated in the battle in 1917.
Each Centennial Tree is available for $10,000 and will feature the donor’s name on the Centennial Park plaque. Proceeds will support Vimy Centennial Park and education programs of the Vimy Foundation. *Limited number of Centennial trees remain* Commemorative Vimy Oaks are also available for donation to plant in Canada at $1,000 per tree.
On October 29, 2018, French children from the nearby town of Givenchy-en-Gohelle assisted with the planting of the Vimy Oaks at the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park. Thank you for your help! Click here to view the photos.
The paths through the Centennial Park create a unique perspective of the Vimy Memorial, surrounded by Vimy Oaks. Centennial benches, placed throughout the park, provide an opportunity for gathering, dialogue, and extended reflection, all essential elements to conflict resolution and peace that the monument inspires. The Centennial Benches, built in Canada, are available for sponsorship. Scroll down for the list of current Centennial Bench donors. Proceeds will support Vimy Centennial Park and education programs of the Vimy Foundation. *Very limited number of Centennial Benches remain*
THE RIDGE: TO VENERATE A BURIED HISTORY
The Vimy Foundation and the Love Family Foundation worked on a joint effort to commemorate the legacy of the Battle of Vimy Ridge- The Ridge: To Venerate A Buried History. This water feature was commissioned after a competition with entrants from Canada’s leading design universities. The winning team combined the talents of three Thesis Level Masters of Architecture students from Carleton University: Scott Normand, Kevin Complido, and Brendan Dyck. In their proposal, the team states:
The intention driving the project is for this theoretical interaction to be tranquil and thought-provoking and for it to reinforce the dialogue of peace and remembrance.
THE BUGLER MEMORIAL SCULPTURE
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. The Memorial Sculpture of the Bugler is generously provided by CFB Borden. The Memorial Sculpture of the Bugler, designed by the Canadian artist Marlene Hilton Moore, invites visitors to reflect on moments one hundred years earlier, as the bugle call rang out at the dawn of morning of April 9, 1917, and again on November 11, 1918 at the beginning of peace. A twin Bugler is installed at CFB Borden in the Borden Legacy Park, calling to the now-empty trenches that once trained soldiers before they left for battle overseas. Read more about the Borden Legacy Park here, created for the centennial anniversary of the establishment of Base Borden.
CENTENNIAL PARK FLAGPOLE
Standing tall like the Vimy Oaks around it, the Canadian flag flies proudly. The flagpole is sponsored by Molson Coors, in memory of Captain Percival Molson, M.C. On July 5, 1917, Captain Percival Molson, MC was killed by a German howitzer during fighting at Avion, near Vimy Ridge. “To you from failing hands we throw / The torch; be yours to hold it high.”
CENTENNIAL PARK SUPPORTERS
Vimy Centennial Park Sponsor
Proudly sponsored by Molson Coors In memory of Captain Percival Molson, M.C. “To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high.”
The Province of Alberta remembers those Albertans who served their country in the First World War, and subsequent wars.
In grateful memory of the men of the 13th, 42nd and 73rd Battalions C.E.F. who valiantly fought here in 1917. En mémoire des hommes du 13e, 42e et 73e bataillons F.E.C. qui se sont vaillamment battues ici en 1917. Perpetuated by / Perpétués par : The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada
10th Battalion Calgary Highlanders “The Fighting 10th”
John and Pattie Cleghorn and Family
In loving memory of grandfather Pte. Hugh MacDougall, 1/1st Lovat’s Scouts Yeomanry Wounded at Gallipoli, Sept., 1915
Je Suis Prest.
The Graham & Gayle Cooke Foundation Vancouver, Canada
The gift of The Peter Cundill Foundation on behalf of F Peter Cundill 1938-2011; a great Canadian, whose deep understanding of history afforded him a profound appreciation of the valour and the gritty determination displayed by his countrymen at Vimy.
In memory of all soldiers who served and gave their lives for our freedom. Fasken
Karen Girling, Bruce MacLellan, Ally and Sara, in memory of those who served.
In memory of: Donald Wilfred Machum 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles 1895 – 1966 Donald Alexander Machum 1927 – 2007
Hamilton Academy of Medicine in support of Docs on Ice
In dedication to the brave men and women who fought for freedom at Vimy Ridge On behalf of Husky Injection Molding Systems
In memory of their valour and their bravery. The people of Manitoba, Canada will never forget the many who fought and died for our freedom.
Enjoy the view of freedom they would insist. John Adie RFA 1914-18
Miner Family Canada
Le Nouveau-Brunswick se souvient New Brunswick Remembers
Don de la province du Nouveau-Brunswick Donated by the Province of New Brunswick
The Government of Nova Scotia commemorates Nova Scotians who served, and continue to serve Canada. We shall never forget their service and sacrifice.
The Government of Ontario is proud to pay tribute to the Canadians heroes who bravely fought to preserve our values and freedoms. We are forever grateful for their service and sacrifice.
Le gouvernement de l’Ontario est fier de rendre hommage aux héros canadiens qui ont combattu avec bravoure pour préserver nos valeurs et nos libertés. Nous leur sommes à jamais reconnaissants pour leur service et leurs sacrifices.
In memory of Helen Allen Stacey who connected thousands of needy children with adoptive parents and Col. C.P. Stacey, professor and official historian of the Canadian Army in the Second World War. Remembered by their loving families and friends.
The Vimy Oaks Legacy Corporation
Amelia & Lino Saputo Jr. Foundation
Bain Family, in memory of Pvt William Arthur Wilcox, 15th Bn, lost at Festubert, France May 21, 1915
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
From the Capern Walimaki Family, in loving memory of our ancestors who sacrificed for us all.
The Men and Women of the Royal Canadian Chaplain Service / Les hommes et les femmes du Service de l’aumônerie royale canadienne
To honour ARLINGTON CLARKE and the many brave Canadians who fought at Vimy Ridge. The Clarke Family
A.Coburn & D.Auringer families in memory of Thomas Wilson, 196th Battalion CEF
Costigan family, in memory of Major John Francis Costigan, 50th Battalion infantry. April 4th 1917 Canada.
Craig, Debois, Isaacs, Mierins, Tilgner, Warner. Remembering Those Who Sacrificed Their Lives For Ours
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)
We remember Jack and Fred Evans, brothers from Parkland, Alberta, who died at the Somme in Nov. 1916
The Fraser Family in memory of Frederick Thomas Lodge & John (Jack) Fraser
In memory of the brave souls who fought for our freedoms. We owe you immeasurable Gratitude. The Galt Family.
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
Alan Greenberg, Darcia Rowntree and Families
Ken and Dianne Griffith & Family
Harold S. Hadley & Claudia J. Kennedy
La Municipalité régionale de Halifax est honorée de soutenir le maintien du legs des chênes de Vimy.
In memory of Capt Frank Edgar Hamblin, 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles
Ainslie Hogan and sons
For Brave Valentine, with Love The Hyatt Family
The MFL Jaques Family, 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
We will not break faith, nous nous souviendrons. Fergus, Molly & Racheal McCaig
The McCook, Leger, and Styner Family
In memory of Bill and Joan Livingston
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
Karen Miller and Gerald McDonnell
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.
Barry & Elizabeth A. Peacock, in memory of Robert Charles Peacock
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
Dedicated on behalf of the No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation, to all that rest upon this sacred Canadian land in France. We encourage all and especially, the world’s youth, to gaze upon its beauty and understand that the oak tree is a symbol of Bravery, Power, Protection and Truth. Please remember their sacrifices and the strength it took to defend us. We hope all will make a pledge, when they stand before it, to remember. May they be commemorated forever and our gratitude infinite. Peace be with you. Maureen Bianchini Purvis, Randall Purvis, Sara McNeill, Keely Yates, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
The Ritz & Hunt families in memory of Pte Harry Franklin Ritz (78th Bn)
Honour – Courage – Sacrifice / Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Military Colleges of Canada, Class of 1973. Truth, Duty, Valour / Vérité, Devoir, Vaillance
The Shanahan Carriage Company in memory of Lieutenant-Colonel John H. Chipman, MC, VD
Shannon Family in loving memory of of our grandfather Wilfrid J. Fagan
In loving memory of our angel Barbara (Glica) Sweeney 1957 – 2019. You live in our hearts.
TAO Asset Management
We will remember them. Forever grateful, the Tattersall family and Heathbridge Capital Management
Honouring the sacrifices of University of Toronto students, alumni, faculty and staff.
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
To purchase a Centennial Tree or Bench and support the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park and educations programs, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.595.1917.
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.
Thank you to all who have made donations through our ‘Give a Vimy for Vimy’ initiative. These donations helped support our 2017 Centennial activities.
1902774 Alberta Ltd.
Harry Wylie Abel
Joseph Russell Albert
Alfred and Herbert
All the Canadians.
Ralph E. Allen
Walter S. Allward
Ameri-Can Machinery Ltd.
John James Amm
Anne & Will
Percy Argyle, #198747
Pauline M Atkinson
Nursing sister Esthaol Bagshaw
Charles Roy Bailey
James N. Baker
Ryan D.C. Baker
In Memory of Lance Corporal Ronald Barlow
Mary C. Beaussart
Mr. Donald L Berard
R Ian Birtwell
Harold Fletcher Bishop
Gerald Edward Blackstock
Vimy Patricia Loftus Blackstock
Norval R Blair
Henry Edward Blake
PO2 Craig Blake
Douglas K Blakeley RCNVR
Gail E Blondon
Michael Blythe EXP
In memoriam to Private Russell John Boland
Dr and Mrs D Bouchard
Lars & Rene Bouman
Pvt. Charles Edward Bowman 127648 Canadian Cemetery No. 2
Hugh Boyd 85th NS Highlanders
Edward Gordon Bresnahan
Tom Bridel, soldier at Vimy
Fred Bridel, soldier at Vimy
Mr. R. Mark Brigham
In Memory of Robert Henry Brown who fought at Vimy Ridge
L/Cpl John Howard Brown
John David Burnes
Gunner Walter H Burnett 25 05 1917
Jack W.B. Butler
Peter M Butler
In memory of William Thompson Calderwood
Tom & Jane Callen
LCol Tom Callen,CD, RC Sigs (Ret’d)
Gordon J Campbell
John Campion and Jean Cumming
John C Cannon
Byzantine Imperial House of Cantacuzéne
Stacey Cardiff 908137
Brett W.J. Carr
Sara N Cecile
Julye Johanne Charlebois
Joel Robert Denis Charlebois
Clement W.Y. Cheung
Signaller Thomas H. Chisolm, 42nd Canadian Highlanders
Barbara M Clancy
Reg H Clancy
Pte EG Clarke
Lisa Cameron Clarke
Orrin M. Clayton
Doug & Joan Clute
John & Jill Coles
Jeff & Sherrie Coles Family
Brian J Connor
Amelia I. Cook
John H. Cook
Charles Leslie Cooke
John Cooke, Jack Cooke, Sharon Kaur in Memory of John Orme Cooke 4CMR and Melvin Leroy Dolph 52 CEF
George W. Cost
Cliff j Cowan
Edward Thomas Crothers
William G Cunningham
Johanna & Mike Dabrowski Family
Arnaud De Block
Mary Jane Decloux
Chris De Guerre
Fred Craig Derry
Gary M Diamond
Thomas J. Dixon
Gregory D. Doell
Alix & Patrick Doherly
Sgt. Andrew Doiron
Murray G Douglas
Gord & Vicki Drimmie
Gord Drimmie and Family
Richard R Duffield
Gladstone Burwash Earl
Hiram Arnold Earl
Brian D. Edwards
Sgt. J.M. Elo CD
Sandra M Ens
In memory of Howard John Gaskell Exton
In Memory of Carol Eyre
Robert Gerald Fenech
David and Nicola Finch
David a Fisch
Alexandra F Fokine
Frederic, Violet, Lottie and Helen Foley
In memory of Roy Forbes who bravely fought at Vimy Ridge
Jordan Robert Fraser
James I Freeman
Dudley Bertram Fryer (Vimy Ridge Veteran)
Keary Brooks Galley, 2nd Cdn Division
Susan L. Gardener
Ken & Laurie Gaughan
David B Godwin
Gerald I. Goldlist
HV Gore (Victor)
Ariel and Sadie Gottheil
Vimy Veteran Francis Green
Donald C Hallam
Sandra and Steve Halpenny
Captain Edwin Harewood
W. Peter H. Harding
F/Lt Basil J. Harford RCAF
Pte.Basil Harford, 27th Batt. CEF
David R. Harkness
Martin R Harman
Rhonda and Darrell Hartman
Pte Arthur Thomas Hawkins
George Alexander Hayes
Robert N Heath
Thomas Hedges and Family
Kathleen M. Henderon
Barbara W. Henderson
Elise M. Henderson
Judy R. Henderson
Kevin D. Henderson
Melvin S. Henderson
Ronald L. Henderson
Ross L. Henderson
Thomas J. Henderson
James William Hill
David I Houghton
Rhoda Marjory Hughes
In memory of the brave young soldiers who laid down their lives for our freedom.
Betty D. James
Neil & Rita Jeffrey
Bodil Eve Jensen
Robin & Trudy Jensen
Robert Ambrose Jensen
Memoriam – Leonard Eldridge Jerrom – 44th Battalion
In Memory of Edgar Johncox
Ernie R Johnson
PVT Albin Solman Johnson 5th Btn
William George Washington Johnston
William Henderson Johnston
Tass J. Kanakos
Michael S Kaplan
Dr. Edward Katz
Barry and Cheryl Kay
Grant A Kehrli
Regimental Sergeant Major Stephen Kern, CD
In memory of Arthur Kitchen and Renee Kitchen
Shirley M Knapp
David L. Knight
Lynn M Kustra
James Harvey Lackie
Alain S. Lalonde
Gail E. Lalonde
Richard Paul Lamy
Pte. Walter F. Lang 190103
John Langstaff (Vernon BC)
George V. Laughton
Richard V Laughton
André et Marie Laurendeau
Debra J Laurie
Jeremy K. Lavoie
Wayne K Lawrence
Leslie David Laxton
Joan Girling Leduc
Evered James Lee
Raynald H Lemelin
James V Leroux
Elizabeth M. Leverette
Chris & Diane Lindstrom
Cpl. Robert Lipton
Fonda B Loft
Jonathan Oliver Black Loftus
Leona C Love
R. Alex Loy
Robert A. Loy
Peter Lubke, CPA, CMA, CGA
Pete & Marianne Lupiano Family
Joe, Debbie, Maddie, Patrick & Allison Lynch
Robert B Mac Donald
Megan Mackinnon (for Kathleen)
Rose Marie Maclennan
George Richard Mansell
Paul T Markham
George Marshall and Andrew Allan
Captain James May
John G. McCarten
Mr Kevin McCarthy
Robert David McChesney
Douglas and Betty-Lou McChesney
Donald Sutherland McKellar
John Edward McKinney
William ‘Jock’ McNeil
John A. Melvin
Col. (Ret.) W. Allan Methven
Sgt. Hugh Millar
Frederick Bertram Milley
Howard F. Mitchell
Wayne Gordon Mitchell
Marco “Mike” Montagano, Grandfather
In memoriam of Francis J. Mooney
Harvey L Morrison
Ernie E Mowat
Alfred Joseph Muise
John Scott Murray
George M. Myatte
Lancelyn R Nelson
Luella A.R. Neurauter
Milton G. Neurauter
MCpl Ryan Alexander New
In memoriam Mr. John Dudley Noble WWII – RAF
Steven and Barbara Oliver
Marie Olney (daughter of Andrew Olney WWII veteran))
Terence John O’Neill
William J. Orr
Captain David Owen
Robert D M Owen
David E. Parker
Zachary J Parrott
In memory of John Parry – C.F.A. – 19th btry
Renton H Patterson
Robert (Bob) Pearson
Jean G. Pedersen
George Alfred Perkins
Gordon C Peverill
Robert W. Pfister
Nettie Belle Plaza
F/S Cyrille E. Poissant
Doreen A. Pollitt
Great Uncle Charlie- Charles Thomas Porter
William G. Portman
Grandfather J. Percy Prestwich, Veteran
In memory of Charles Price, who was there
Qi Dai Family
Charles & Cara Ramsey
Major W. A. Randall
John H W Rathwell
In memory of Charles Reaper
Charles A Richardson
Charles S. Robinson
In Memory of Frederick J. Robinson
Martin H Robinson
Lance Corporal Peter Robson
Lance Cpl.Peter Robson
PTE James Robson ww 1
Arden and Nicola Rosaasen
Morgan Cameron Ross
Michel M Rouleau
Brian E Rudolph
Thomas T. Rusnov
Fran Ariel Russell
Peter E Rutherford
Angela M Ryan
Sandy Ryan E.D.
Peter M Sanderson
Douglas J. Sapsford
George W Scott
John R. Scott
The Scott Family
R. Craig Searle
BGen (Ret’d) James Selbie
Eldon A. Semple
Eric Senos Jr
John & Grace Shaddick
Mervyn C Sheppard
Charles Arthur Sherman
Roger & Mags Shorey
Bert & Judi Shrubsole Family
Ellis W. Sifton
Bronx K Siu
William R Skitch
Ronald Allan Smith
John H C Soule
Captain Charles F Stevenson
Harry Attwood Stevenson
Mackie O Stewart
Thomas Edward Storey
Norman Earl Studholme
PVT (907992) David Stanley Stuffles
Frank Lloyd Thomas
Jim & Nola Thomas
Sheldon B. Thorpe
Those who made the ultimate sacrifice
Charles Cecil Tilbury
Barry R Towson
Jonathon & Stacey Trenchard
Alfred Ernest Tucker
Robert R Turner
Evert (EV)_ Van Eerden
Roger Van Dorne
Evert Van Ginkel
Lieut. Desmond Vicars
Brian FJ Vollmer
C/Sgt A. Wakif
David Henry Waldron
David Sterling Waldron
Private Thomas Samuel Walker
Roy W Wannamaker
T Gai Ward
William & Lynn Watson
Dr Howard weaver
Theodore George Whalley
Elizabeth & Peter Whatmore
John F. White
Ken S Wildgoose
Arthur E. Wilkins
David M. Wilkins
Neil & Dawn Wilson
Elliot McFarland Wood
John A.E. Woodhouse
Evared Inkerman Wright
Jonathan Christopher Wright
Bruce & Margaret Wright
Lieut. Douglas Christie Wright, RFC, 18th Bn
C. Kemm Yates
Sergeant Percy Young
After the Battle of 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. It 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 farmland in Scarborough, ON, 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 IN FRANCE
The Vimy Foundation, in partnership with the Vimy Oaks Legacy Corporation, is working to repatriate these Vimy Oaks of Scarborough-Agincourt back to Vimy, France, to help preserve Canada’s First World War legacy through the creation of a living memorial.
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. (Photos from this process can be found here.) The saplings have been grown at Connon NVK nurseries using an accelerated method.
These saplings are now available for private planting in Canada to commemorate the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Donations will be used to support the creation of the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park in France as well as ongoing education programs.
The planting of a Vimy Oak is a special way for schools, libraries, and other community organizations to mark the end of the First World War centennial period. These special trees, brought back as acorns from Vimy Ridge to grow in Canada, are an opportunity for groups to acknowledge the impact that the First World War had on their community, and to gather together in a ceremony when the tree is planted in the ground.
The Vimy Foundation can assist with ideas on how fundraising for a Vimy Oak can be combined with education and awareness-building activities for students or visitors, which could include researching individuals from the school or neighbourhood who enlisted; learning more about the geography and environmental impact of war; and analysis of First World War memorials.
For younger readers, Linda Granfield’s The Vimy Oaks: A Journey to Peaceis an excellent entry-point for discussing the First World War and Remembrance alongside the Vimy Oaks.
100 years ago poetry was an integral part of Canadian life. Everyone read poetry, most wrote it, you had to learn some in school, and poems are found in almost all the war diaries and letters. Of course, the most famous being In Flanders Fields…
The Vimy Oaks Team is reaching out to Canada’s poets for a poem to be read at the planting of the ‘repatriated’ Vimy Oaks in 2017 in France for the 100th Anniversary of the battle, and Canada’s 150th birthday. The trees represent our fallen soldiers and present Canadians who are standing on guard for democracy and freedom. They ‘say’ to the French (and other allies) that Canada answers the call. 100 years later the acorn has returned. We have not forgotten.
Mr. Gordon Lane (London, Ontario) submitted his father’s First World War poems which had only recently been rediscovered. Andrew Lane was a Gunner with the 43rd Battery Canadian Field Artillery. The unit was commissioned in 1916 by Lt. Col. David McCrae, John McCrae’s father. Gunner Lane’s poems written in 1917‐1918, provide us with a contemporary soldier’s thoughts and emotions.