Each Sunday we will share a story of Remembrance. How has the Battle of Vimy Ridge lived on in the memory of Canadians?
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial, from renowned sculptor Walter Allward, is a stirring symbol of the First World War. But its design, consistent with First World War commemoration in general, was a significant departure from previous war monuments. As Jacqueline Hucker and Julian Smith note in Vimy: Canada’s Memorial to a Generation, “the major structures were erected as memorials rather than victory monuments and brought into focus the loss of life and sacrifice for one’s country, rather than military accomplishments. Some also made reference to the suffering of those left to grieve in the melancholy post-war years.” (p.25)
The Canada Bereft statue is also known as Mother Canada. She looks out from Vimy Ridge over the Douai plains, and mourns her fallen sons. The sadness in her face, the personification of the young Canadian nation, has continued to be a moving visual for generations who visit the Vimy Memorial.