Recite In Flanders Fields with the Vimy Foundation

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This Remembrance Week (November 5-11, 2015), the Vimy Foundation is calling on all Canadian schools to help pass the torch of remembrance by reciting  In Flanders Fields in their classrooms. This year marks the centennial of In Flanders Fields, Canada’s most famous poem, written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae during the First World War in 1915.

Each classroom will be eligible to win an iPad and Vimy Prize Pack courtesy of the Vimy Foundation.

Founded in 2006, the mission of the Vimy Foundation is to preserve and promote Canada’s First World War legacy, as symbolized with the victory at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917, a milestone when Canada came of age and was then recognized on the world stage.

Contact us at info@vimyfoundation.ca with any questions.

Canadians Recite the Poem:

In 2014, Postmedia asked Canadians to recite In Flanders Fields: 

Victoria Jackman, 2014 Vimy Pilgrimage Award winner

Dr. David Suzuki:

Find more videos of prominent Canadians on their site dedicated to the First World War.

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VIMY FOUNDATION RELEASES NEW POLL FOR VIMY WEEK 2015

New Vimy Foundation poll reveals majority of Canadians believe 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge in 2017 should be focus of Canada’s Sesquicentennial

Vimy Day to be celebrated across Canada on April 9

 

TORONTO—April 8, 2015 —To mark Vimy Day (April 9), The Vimy Foundation has released a new poll measuring Canadian attitudes and knowledge of this seminal moment in Canadian history.

With 2017 being a big year for Canada as it celebrates both its 150th birthday and the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, one of the most famous battles of Canadian history, which scholars often point to as Canada’s definitive “coming of age” moment, a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of the Vimy Foundation has revealed that three quarters (74%) of Canadians ‘agree’ that ‘the 100th anniversary of Vimy, falling as it does in 2017, should be one of the most important celebrations for Canada that year’.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge, and its contribution to Canadian history and nation building, is so significant that the government of Canada chose to include an image of the monument on the new $20 bill. Many Canadians want to see the gesture go even further: a majority (51%) of Canadians ‘agree’ that since the new $20 Canadian polymer bill features an image of the Vimy monument, they’d ‘support changing the name of the $20 bill to a “Vimy” to help commemorate the battle’s centennial in 2017’.

“It is encouraging that a clear majority of the country recognizes the important place the victory holds in our history,” said Jeremy Diamond, Executive Director of the Vimy Foundation. “As we countdown to 2017, we look forward to further engaging and educating Canadians about this seminal moment in our nation’s history.”

Troubling was that four in ten (40%) Canadians feels the war cenotaph/memorial in their community is ‘in need of repair and/or restoration’. Built following the end of the First World War, these cenotaphs/memorials are often used for public gatherings and celebrations, particularly on Remembrance Day.

From 2014 to 2018, Canada and those around the world mark the 100th anniversary of many important milestones from the First World War. But most Canadians are not entirely aware of these important anniversaries. Four in ten (44%) ‘agree’ that they are ‘aware of upcoming centennial anniversaries of important moments of the First World War, such as poet John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields, the Battle of Ypres, the Battle of Vimy Ridge, etc’. Conversely, a majority (56%) ‘disagrees’ (they are aware of these important milestones).

Interestingly, 5% of those polled (up 2% from 2014), said that they or a member of their family are considering travelling to Vimy for centennial celebrations in 2017.

Other findings include:

  • Three quarters (75%) ‘agree’ a visit to Canadian battlefields, cemeteries and historic sites in Europe has or would increase my knowledge and appreciation for Canada’s military history,
  • Three quarters (72%) ‘agree’ that all Canadians should participate in a local activity to celebrate Canada’s 150 birthday in 2017
  • A majority of Quebeckers (54%) support the renaming of the $20 bill to a ‘Vimy’ in time for the centennial in 2017
  • Half of Albertans (50%) ‘agree’ that the cenotaph/memorial in their community is in need of repair/restoration

The Vimy Foundation, working with the Government of Canada, is spearheading the building of an Education Centre at the Vimy Memorial site in France, so that students and visitors can better understand this pivotal moment in Canadian history. The Centre will open on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, April 9, 2017. For more information on Vimy 2017, visit www.vimy100.ca

Click here to view full poll results.

The Vimy Foundation

Founded in 2006, the mission of the Vimy Foundation is to preserve and promote Canada’s First World War legacy as symbolized with the victory of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917, a milestone when Canada came of age and was then recognized on the world stage. Visit www.vimyfoundation.ca.

 

UPDATE! THE VIMY OAKS OF SCARBOROUGH-AGINCOURT

THE VIMY OAKS of Scarborough-Agincourt

Saturday, January 24, 2015

On April 9, 1917, Vimy Ridge was captured by Canadian forces and, with the victory that claimed nearly 11,000 Canadian casualties and lives, Canada became a nation.

Born in 1889 in Milliken north of Agincourt, Leslie Miller survived three and a half years of trench warfare in World War I with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, including the historic battles at Paschendale, Ypres and Vimy.  After the Vimy battle was won, many soldiers realized that they had been part of something truly great. Leslie Miller looked around for a souvenir on the Ridge, which 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 farm land 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.

Monty McDonald, as a teenager, worked with Leslie Miller on his farm. In remembrance of him and all our Canadian soldiers, Monty came up with the idea of repatriating the Vimy Oaks of Scarborough-Agincourt back to Vimy, France.
And so, the Vimy Oaks Team was formed to help preserve and promote Canada’s WWI legacy through the creation of a living memorial.

In partnership with the Vimy Foundation, we are working to grow and plant up to 120 trees at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France for the 100th Anniversary, April 9, 2017.

Today the process begins with professional arborists taking cuttings (scions) from the crowns of the oaks which will be grafted onto base root stock – quercus robur. Like Ice Wine this process must be done in the cold weather. The saplings will be grown at Connon Nurseries in Waterdown, Ontario using an accelerated method. In two years time, 125 cm young oak saplings will be ready for shipment via air to France.

We hope to arrange a ceremonial planting involving all the Canadian regiments that fought in WWI on the 100th Anniversary in April 2017.

Lest we forget.

VIMY OAKS Team:

Monty McDonald, Lead retired Engineer with extensive project development experience.
Dr. Ron Ayling is a forester, with some 30 years experience in project development and management, and is now Editor of the Forestry Chronicle, a Canada-wide forestry magazine.
Dave Lemkay General Manager of the Canadian Forestry Association, instrumental in planting of Canadian Maples at Juno Beach centre in Normandy, France on D Day Anniversary.
Ed Lawrence well known gardening expert and radio personality with many industry contacts.
Tony DiGiovanni Director Landscape Ontario
Case Vanderkruk and Andrew Barbour Connon Nurseries.
Colonel Ralph Coleman (retd) former director public affairs Canadian Military.
Patricia Sinclair local community activist with a network of contacts; public relations expertise.

Key Supporters and Volunteers:
Andrew Cowell, Chris Brown, Caitlin Ayling: arborists responsible for initial harvesting.
Members of the Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church for overall support of the project.

 

Representing Veterans Affairs The Honourable Peter Kent, Member of Parliament for Thornhill stated: “I applaud the Vimy Oaks team for preserving the legacy of First World War Veteran Leslie Miller. These trees stand as a symbol of the strength and determination of those who gave so much nearly 100 years ago, and it is truly an honour to be here to witness the beginning of what will become a lasting reminder of the Canadian sacrifice on Vimy Ridge.” « Je félicite l’équipe responsable des chênes de Vimy de leurs efforts en vue de préserver le patrimoine de M. Leslie Miller, vétéran de la Première Guerre mondiale. Ces arbres représentent la force et la détermination de tous ceux et celles qui ont tant donné il y a près de 100 ans, et c’est un véritable honneur d’être témoin du début de ce qui sera un rappel durable du sacrifice canadien sur la crête de Vimy. » L’honorable Peter Kent, député de Thornhill

Vimy Foundation Executive Director, Jeremy Diamond stated: “To commemorate the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 2017, the Vimy Foundation, in partnership with the Government of Canada, is spearheading the building of the Vimy Education Centre, which will be located at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. We are thrilled to partner with the Vimy Oaks project, the trees from which will make a fitting complement to the Centre and site. Congratulations on this wonderful initiative.”

“I comment Vimy Oaks for their work in highlighting the unique links between Scarborough-Agincourt and one of Canada’s most important military achievements. As we near the centennial of this seminal battle for Canada’s Expeditionary Force, programs, like the one by Vimy Oaks, will help remind us of all the sacrifices made by many Canadians so that we can have the freedoms that make Canada the nation it is today.” Arnold Chan, Member of Parliament, Scarborough-Agincourt.

Media Contact: Patricia Sinclair (416) 498-8199 / psincl@outlook.com

Click here to read the article in the Toronto Star: “On Vimy Ridge, mighty oaks will grow again – thanks to a Canadian soldier”

Click here to listen to a radio interview: 680News reporter Kris McCusker speaks with Jeremy Diamond, executive director of the Vimy Foundation.

Click here for additional photos in the Vimy Oaks album on our Facebook page.

UPDATE APRIL 7, 2015:

Curious about how the young sapling are coming along? CityNews Videographer Audra Brown finds out more about saplings grown from oaks that originated in Vimy Ridge which will eventually be planted in France. Click here for the video update.

GOVERNMENT OF CANADA INVESTS IN PERMANENT VISITOR CENTRE AT CANADIAN NATIONAL VIMY MEMORIAL

QUÉBEC CITY, MAY 14, 2013 — /CNW/ – The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie, and the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today announced a Government of Canada investment of $5 million to support the construction of a permanent Visitor Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. Construction of the Centre is expected to be completed by April 2017, the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

“The cross here at la Citadelle once stood at Vimy Ridge. This sacred emblem stands today to remind us of the price our nation paid at Vimy Ridge that Easter Monday morning 96 years ago,” said Minister Blaney. “Despite the incredible sacrifice of fellow Canadians, our nation found a stronger sense of identity and national pride. The Government of Canada is proud to be working with the Vimy Foundation to establish a permanent Visitor Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Our mutual goal is to help strengthen that pride and to educate citizens and friends of Canada about the sacrifices and achievements of brave Canadians during the First World War.”

The construction of a permanent Visitor Centre at Vimy will be realized through financial support from the Government of Canada and the Vimy Foundation. The Vimy Foundation will raise funds through donations from the private sector and individual Canadians. The Vimy Foundation is a registered Canadian charity with the mission to preserve and promote Canada’s First World War legacy as symbolized with the victory at Vimy Ridge in April 1917.

“Through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, our Government is committed to building a lasting legacy to honour the sacrifices of Canadians who helped to shape our nation,” said Minister Flaherty, while visiting the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. “The construction of a permanent Visitor Centre at Vimy honours our commitment to commemorate the courage and sacrifices of Canadians in the First World War.”

“Today is a big day for all Canadians,” said Christopher Sweeney, Chair of the Vimy Foundation’s 2017 Committee. “We look forward to working with the federal government and other stakeholders, both in Canada and France, in the lead up to the centennial of Vimy Ridge in 2017. The opening of this education centre will be the highlight of national and international celebrations of what we, as Canadians, accomplished together at Vimy almost 100 years ago. Lest we forget.”

The 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge is part of the Road to 2017, a Government of Canada initiative that begins in 2014. The aim of the initiative is to commemorate significant milestones that helped shape Canada leading up to our nation’s 150th birthday in 2017. One of these milestones was the Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge in April 1917. The battle came at a heavy cost: 100,000 Canadians who fought there suffered approximately 11,000 casualties, nearly 3,600 of them fatal.

To learn more about the Vimy Foundation, please visit vimyfoundation.ca. For more information about the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, please visitveterans.gc.ca.

2013 is the Year of the Korean War Veteran—Canada proudly remembers the heroes of the Korean War and their brave fight to uphold freedom, democracy and the rule of law. For more information on Canada’s role in the Korean War, visit veterans.gc.ca.

SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada

Image with caption: “At the Citadelle in Québec City today, Minister of Veterans Affairs Steven Blaney announced an investment of $5 million for the construction of a permanent Visitor Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. Here he is joined by the Honourable Gilles Lamontagne and other Veterans. (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)”. Image available at:http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130514_C6725_PHOTO_EN_26698.jpg