Remembrance Week Poll Finds That Awareness of Vimy Ridge Rising; while Passchendaele Less Well Known
Three in Four Canadians (76%) Support More Budget to Maintain Soldiers’ Graves in Canada.
The year 2017 marks the centenary of two significant battles of the First World War in which Canadian troops participated. A new Ipsos survey for the Vimy Foundation has found that half of Canadians (49%) know that one of them is the Battle of Vimy Ridge, though only one in four (25%) can identify Passchendaele as the other battle marking its 100th anniversary this year.
The survey also finds that awareness of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France has strengthened, in light of the increased attention paid to the battle on its centenary: two in ten Canadians (18%) can correctly identify the monument from a photograph, without any written prompts or clues – a six-point increase from 2016.
Battle of Passchendaele Knowledge Low
By contrast, knowledge about the Battle of Passchendaele is less strong. Given a list of battles in different wars, only one in three (35%) are able to identify that Passchendaele was fought in the First World War.
Knowledge about Passchendaele varies significantly by age, with Millennials (27%) being much less likely to associate it with the First World War than Gen X’ers (32%) or Baby Boomers (44%). The same holds true for awareness of the Centenary of Vimy (36% of Millennials, vs. 46% of Gen X’ers and 60% of Boomers) and recognition of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial (16% of Millennials, vs. 18% of Gen X’ers and 21% of Boomers), which demonstrates a trend of lower levels of awareness and knowledge of these historical battles among young adults.
Millennial Engagement High Despite Low Level of Knowledge
Millennials most likely demographic to support the building of a memorial dedicated to Vimy in Toronto. Eight in ten (83%) agree (33% strongly/50% somewhat), as do 83% of Gen X’ers, while support among Baby Boomers drops to 72%. Millennials are also just as likely as older Canadians to say that one day they’d like to visit the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France: two in three (66%) agree (24% strongly/42% somewhat), in line with 67% of Gen X’ers and 68% of Boomers.
Strong Support for Better Maintenance of War Memorials, Graves
Government of Canada auditors have found that more than 45,000 grave markers require maintenance. Prior to 2003, the federal government allocated $5 million annually to the care of these grave markers. Since then, the budget has been reduced to $1.2M, where it remains today.
Most Canadians (76%) support (31% strongly/45% somewhat) increasing budget for the maintenance of these sites, including majority of every demographic studied.
Many also perceive a need to restore war memorials at the community level: half (48%) of Canadians agree (10% strongly/38% somewhat) that the war cenotaph or memorial in their community is in need of repair and/or restoration. This is up 8 points since 2015.