The Battle of Vimy Ridge remains an iconic event in Canadian history. Fought from April 9 to 12, 1917, it is celebrated in history books, resonates in popular culture and is firmly lodged in Canadian consciousness. The erection of Walter Allward’s stunning memorial on the ridge in 1936 has ensured that the battlefield remains a site of memory, mourning, victory and commemoration. Thousands of Canadians have made a pilgrimage to the memorial and, over time, despite the dangers of France being overrun during the Second World War and the ravages of weather, it has remained a focal point for Canadian war remembrance. The unveiling of the refurbished memorial in 2007 was accompanied by a pageantry of celebration and pride. The Queen, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and over 3,000 Canadians attended the ceremony, where T-shirts and hats were sold containing the tag line, ‘The birth of a nation.’
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
The Bank of Canada on the 7th of November announced the entry into circulation of the new $20 polymer bank notes, during an official ceremony at the Canadian War Museum. Starting today, these new notes will gradually become available at financial institutions across Canada. The Vimy Foundation is proud to have been involved in the process.
Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney was joined at the event by Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty, Minister of Veterans Affairs Steven Blaney, and David Houghton, President of the Vimy Foundation.
“The introduction of the $20 note is an important milestone for the new Polymer series. Making up half of all bank notes in circulation, the $20 note is the most used denomination,” said Governor Carney.
The front of the new $20 note features a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Canada’s Head of State; while the imagery on the back of the note features the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. This iconic monument, located in Vimy, France, commemorates the 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge and honours Canadians who fought and gave their lives in the First World War in France and who have no known grave.
“It is fitting that we are launching these new notes at the Canadian War Museum only a few days before Remembrance Day. These new notes pay tribute to the sacrifices of Canadian men and women who fought to protect Canada and its allies in all military conflicts,” said Minister Flaherty. “
Minister Blaney noted the special significance to veterans of featuring the Canadian National Vimy Memorial on the $20, “With these notes, Canadians are honouring the contributions and sacrifices of our military men and women, a powerful sentiment that I am certain will resonate strongly with our veterans and their families.”
Vimy Foundation President David Houghton added, “Each time we open our wallets, we will be reminded of the significance of the battle of Vimy in Canadian history—a pivotal moment when our country came of age.”
The Vimy Foundation is very pleased that on May 3rd, the Bank of Canada unveiled the new $20 that will be put in circulation in the coming months.
Thanks to the Bank of Canada, the victory of Vimy Ridge will be depicted on the new bill, allowing Canadians to carry a piece of history in their wallets. Just as Canadian innovation was successfully demonstrated on the battlefield of Vimy and with the architectural design of the memorial some years later, the new series of Canadian notes are at the frontier of bank note technology and will set a benchmark worldwide.
The Bank of Canada unveiled this new $20 bill during a very important time, as people across Canada and France just commemorated the 95th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 2012. This prestigious honour will help commemorate the sacrifice and success of Canadian soldiers in the First World War.
The Vimy Foundation’s mission is to preserve and promote Canada’s First World War Legacy as symbolized by the victory at Vimy in 1917 and is thus proud to have consulted the Bank of Canadaon this initiative and to have given support with regards to the theme and design of the new bill. The Foundation looks forward to future collaboration with the Bank of Canada.
For more information on the new $20 bill, please visit: http://www.bankofcanada.ca/banknotes/
Battle of Vimy Ridge celebrations to start on April 4th
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Veterans Affairs Steven Blaney received yesterday a Vimy Pin from two Vimy Foundation alumni in preparation for the 95th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge Day, which will be commemorated on April 9th. See story at http://pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?category=1&featureId=6&pageId=26&id=4688.
Canadians will be invited to participate in a variety of Vimy Week activities (April 1st to April 9th) and to learn more about their Canadian heritage.
“Canada’s contribution, sacrifice and determination in World War I, as best represented by the Battle of Vimy Ridge, were pivotal in shaping the course of our nation,” said David Houghton, President of the Vimy Foundation. “The Vimy Foundation believes that the key to a successful future lies in knowing one’s past, and this unique pin helps us to share the remarkable story of Vimy with younger generations.”
The Vimy Foundation, with the gracious help of Shaw Communications who made this year’s pin campaign possible, will celebrate the 95th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy with various awareness activities, including fundraising, educational and commemoration events. More information will be unveiled in the coming weeks.