Newsletter February 2011




The Royal Canadian Legion Pilgrimage Medal, worn by King Edward VIII (inset, painted by artist Georges Bertin Scott) at the unveiling of the Vimy Memorial.

Kingly medal comes to Canada

Vimy Pilgrimage Medal to be permanently 
displayed at the Canadian War Museum

A fascinating piece of Canada’s military history now resides at the War Museum in perpetuity thanks to the generosity of two Canadians who wanted to preserve a unique Vimy medal.

The Royal Canadian Legion Pilgrimage Medal was worn by King Edward VIII in unveiling the Vimy Memorial on July 26, 1936. It stayed in various private collections since that time but was put up for auction at Sotheby’s last year along with 20 other items given by the former King to Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom he abdicated the throne only a few months after the Vimy unveiling.

Andrew Powell, Founder and President Emeritus of The Vimy Foundation, partnered with fellow Canadian John McBain in co-purchasing this medal for £12,500 ($20,000 CDN). Working closely with the Canadian War Museum, Mr. Powell and Mr. McBain arranged to have the newly purchased medal sent to Canada where it will remain in Museum’s permanent collection.

“The King’s medal represents the loss of thousands of people from three countries – Canada, France and Great Britain – who fought side by side, trench-by-trench, in the First World War”, said Mr. Powell. “It’s a medal forged in sacrifice, worn by majesty and purchased through passion.”


Message from the President

As this is our first edition of Remembering Vimy for this year, I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you and your family our best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011.

The upcoming year will be an interesting one for the Vimy Foundation, as we continue to share the story of the courage and sacrifice of Vimy, and how that event became such an ingrained part of Canadian heritage. With the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize competition deadline just days away, and our Encounters with Canada program in April, the opportunities for our youth to learn and reflect on our message abound. But as always, we cannot do this alone. Your support is vital.

Proudly wear your Vimy Pin or Pilgrimage Medal on your lapel in the month leading up to Vimy Ridge Day - April 9 - and ensure that your children and grandchildren learn the incredible story of Vimy. It is our responsibility to future generations.

David Houghton


Honours for Board members

Andrew Powell, Christopher Sweeney honoured by Veterans Affairs Canada

Andrew Powell, Founder and President Emeritus of The Vimy Foundation, and Director Christopher Sweeney were both awarded the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation by the Canadian federal government.

The awards were granted by the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs, in October and January. Mr. Powell was honoured for personally funding the first Vimy Prize scholarships in 2006, and for his continuing dedication to fundraising for the Foundation, while Mr. Sweeney was recognized for spearheading the Vimy Pilgrimage Medal and Vimy Pin initiatives.



Army Cadets set their eyes on Vimy Ridge

New educational program to teach about victory at Vimy

The Army Cadet League of Canada is launching a new educational program that will see cadets learn about the battle of Vimy Ridge, and its contribution to Canada’s emergence as a nation among nations.

The new initiative, launched in collaboration with The National Army Cadet League, The Royal Canadian Legion, The Vimy Foundation, ANAVETS and Veterans Affairs Canada, will see all 6,000 Cadets in Ontario learn about the significance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge through special video presentations and guest speakers in the lead-up to Vimy Ridge Day on April 9.

According to Don McCumber, vice-president of the Ontario Army Cadet League, the new program is an important part of the overall idea of Remembrance.

“The cadets will learn of the significant contributions that our soldiers have made in past to ensure our freedom as a nation,” he says. “By learning of our past military history, these cadets will be able to pass the torch of remembrance to the next generation and ensure the the sacrifices that were made are not forgotten.”



Join Us for the Vimy Reception

A sumptuous evening in celebration of the legacy of Vimy

Thursday, April 7, 2011 from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.
The Embassy of France in Canada, The RBC Foundation and The Vimy Foundation are pleased to invite you to the 2011 Vimy Foundation reception.

This rare private event, featuring keynote speaker General Rick Hillier, is being graciously hosted at the landmark French Embassy in Ottawa. A special exhibition of the spectacular re-lighting of the Vimy Memorial in 2007 by Martin Conboy will also be on display. This is an event not to be missed.



Beaverbrook Vimy Prize deadline approaches

Attention all prospective Beaverbrook Vimy Prize applicants: the deadline for 2011 applications is on February 15 at midnight. You can file your application online, or download the applications forms to send by mail.



Helping us tell the story

Volunteers working in their communities

Loralea Wark
Yellowknife, NWT, Canada
Loralea Wark is a dedicated high school history teacher with endless energy and passion who has volunteered for the last four years teaching an after-school class in Canadian history.

She began teaching at Ecole St. Patrick High School in Yellowknife in August 2001 and is currently the head of the Social Studies Department. She was also a finalist for the 2010 Governor General's Awards for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History, is a 2010 Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation recipient and is a member of The Vimy Foundation’s Education Committee.



Register for Vimy Ridge Week at Encounters with Canada

Open to teens across Canada

For our second year, The Vimy Foundation - with the support of TD Waterhouse - is pleased to partner with Encounters With Canada by sponsoring an educational week about the heritage and legacy of Vimy Ridge. This year's edition will take place from April 4 to April 9 in Ottawa.

Meet new friends from every province and territory in the country during this exciting and profound educational experience. Registration for Vimy: Canada's Coming of Age is now underway so don’t miss out.